Hand Rehabilitation is the art and science of evaluating and treating injuries and conditions of the upper extremity such as shoulders, arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands. It includes a number of therapeutic techniques and interventions that help patients suffering from injury, chronic hand pain, or loss of sensation, return to their highest level of functioning.
Unlike Physical Therapy that treats the feet, ankles, knees, hips, back, neck, and shoulders, Hand Rehabilitation Therapy focuses specifically on the shoulder to the hand, and every joint and muscle in between. It can be considered a component of Occupational Therapy, helping individuals complete everyday tasks with their impairment. However, Hand Rehabilitation Therapy can also be a part of Physical Therapy, helping to improve mobility and reduce pain of individuals.
Benefits of Hand Rehabilitation Therapy
With the right course of treatment, Hand Rehabilitation Therapy can help patients to:
- Restore lost muscle strength
- Get relief from pain
- Regain nerve function
- Manage scars
- Eliminate the need for corrective surgery
Conditions Treated by Hand Rehabilitation Therapy
Hand Rehabilitation Therapy helps patients with a variety of disorders and injuries of the hand, arm, wrist, and fingers, including:
Accidents or traumatic conditions like fractures, crush injuries, tendon injuries, nerve injuries, reconstructive surgeries, ligament injuries, spinal cord injuries, burns, amputations of fingers, hands, or arms.
Inflammatory conditions such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, de quervain’s tenosynovitis, dupuytren’s disease, trigger finger, and tendonitis.
Neurologic conditions such as stroke, carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathies, RSD/ Shoulder-Hand syndrome, and congenital anomalies
Chronic conditions, such as arthritis or tendonitis.
The Hand Rehabilitation Therapy Process
Hand Rehabilitation Therapy often starts with an initial evaluation, in which the therapist analyzes the symptoms of the patient. They also learn about the goals that the patient wants to achieve, with therapy. They then perform a detailed exam, which helps establish the baseline function. Finally, they create a plan with goals and a timeline that helps reach the desired function.
Types of Hand Rehabilitation Therapy
Hand Rehabilitation Therapy consists of different treatments that can be non-operative, preventative, or post-surgical, including:
- Injury avoidance education
- Soft tissue procedures
- Range of motion activities
- Joint movement
- Electrical stimulation
- Nerve desensitization
- Occupational conditioning
- Strength exercises
- Scar management
- Dexterity training
- Pain management
- Hot or cold packs
- Custom orthotic creation
Why choose Plexus?
At Plexus, our occupational therapists perform the best hand therapy treatment to help our patients manage the challenging recovery of complex hand and upper extremity injuries. Our certified hand therapists bridge the gap between medical management of upper extremity conditions and successful recovery, helping patients function normally in their daily lives. They use a variety of techniques and tools, including custom made orthotics, activity and exercise programs, management of post-surgical pain, swelling and tenderness, and care of wounds or scars.
Our centers provide preventive therapy, non-invasive interventions (like splints), and post-surgical rehabilitation for a wide range of disorders — from simple fingertip injuries to complex replanted extremities. We also deliver the best Occupational Therapy treatment for hand tremors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is a hand therapy session?
The duration of hand therapy sessions depend on the nature and severity of the patient’s condition. However, an average session at Plexus for Hand Therapy and Occupational Therapy, would last somewhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour.
What is the purpose of Hand Therapy?
Hand therapy is the art and science of evaluating and treating injuries and conditions of the upper extremity (shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand). Occupational Hand Therapy helps patients suffering from injury, chronic hand pain, or loss of sensation return to their highest level of functioning.
What exercises can I do to strengthen my hands?
Simple hand exercises can help you strengthen hands and improve your dexterity. Such exercises include:
- Wrist Extension and Flexion: Begin with your forearm on a table. Let your hand hang off the side of the table with your palm down. Then, move your hand up and down, bending at your wrist. When you’re done, repeat with your palm facing up.
- Thumb Extension and Flexion: Start with your palm open, as if you were signaling the number 5. Then, practice moving your thumb over to your little finger, signaling the number 4. Continue to move your thumb back and forth between these 2 positions.
- Inner Arm Stretch: Place your hands in your lap and interlace your fingers. Then stretch your affected arm palm-side up. You should feel this stretch all the way up your inner arm. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and release. Then, repeat on the other side.
- Wrist Stretch: With your fingers still interlaced, gently bend your affected wrist backward and get a nice stretch there. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and release. Repeat on the other side.
How do I stop my hands from going numb when I sleep?
Here are a few tips to avoid your hands from going numb when you sleep:
- Avoid sleeping in the fetal position and bending your arms and elbows
- Try to keep your arms out at your sides, if you sleep on your stomach
- Sleep with your arms at your sides instead of above your head
- Avoid folding your arms under your pillow while you sleep