Hand Therapy

Hand Therapy

What is Hand Therapy?

Hand therapy is a specialized form of treatment for patients suffering from issues in the upper extremities. This includes hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and all the muscles and joints in between.

Hand therapists work with their patients to prevent injury or impairment, restore full functional activity, and enhance the quality of life for their patients.
At Spear, treatments for the hand and upper extremities are administered by both Certified Hand Therapists (PTs/CHTs) and Occupational Therapists (OTs) that specialize in Hand Therapy.
Certified Hand Therapists successfully passed an examination of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper extremity rehabilitation and meet the mandated criteria to maintain this specialized credential.

How can Hand Therapy help me?

There are four primary areas that fall within the realm of hand therapy: preventative care, post-operative care, rehabilitation, and splinting. The needs of each patient differ depending on their injury or condition.

Hand Therapy is for anyone experiencing pain in an upper extremity (hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder). Conditions treated include:

Fractures of the hand, wrist, and elbow
Post-operative, acute, and chronic injuries
Tendon and ligament injuries
Boutonniere’s and Swan Neck deformities
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Neuropathies
DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis
Dupuytren’s Contractures
Ganglion cysts
Elbow tendonitis
Repetitive stress injuries
Trigger Finger
Wound care

Do You Know How a Hand Splint is Made?

Hand Splinting is just one of the many treatment options available depending on your injury. Watch the video below to see the carefully crafted process behind molding a hand splint, specifically to fit your hand.

Therapists offering Hand Therapy
Kendra Barlotta, MS, OTR/L
Kendra Barlotta headshot
Kendra Barlotta, MS, OTR/L
Lauren Carleton, PT, DPT, CHT
Lauren Carleton headshot
Lauren Carleton, PT, DPT, CHT
Phaeleau Cunneen, PT, CHT, OCS
Phaeleau Cunneen headshot
Phaeleau Cunneen, PT, CHT, OCS
Julia Delzingaro, OT, OTR/L
Julia D
Julia Delzingaro, OT, OTR/L
Kyle DiNicola, OTR/L, PTA
Spear placeholder headshot
Kyle DiNicola, OTR/L, PTA
Christine Evangelista, MS, OTR/L
Christine E
Christine Evangelista, MS, OTR/L
Yeiddy Ferreira, MS, OTR/L
Spear placeholder headshot
Yeiddy Ferreira, MS, OTR/L
Elias Fraija, MS, OTR/L
Elias Fraija headshot
Elias Fraija, MS, OTR/L
Eric Jiang, MS, OTR/L
Eric Jiang headshot
Eric Jiang, MS, OTR/L
Angela Koziarz, MS, OTR/L
Angela Koziarz headshot
Angela Koziarz, MS, OTR/L
Daisy Lei, OTR/L, LSVT BIG
Daisy Lei Headshot
Daisy Lei, OTR/L, LSVT BIG
LSVT BIG, OTR/L
Danielle Lynn, OTD, OTR/L
Danielle Lynn Headshot
Danielle Lynn, OTD, OTR/L
OTD, OTR/L
Kendrick Marania, MS, OTR/L
Katie Elifritz headshot
Kendrick Marania, MS, OTR/L
MS, OTR/L
Kieran Morrissey, MS, OTR/L, TPI L1
Kieran Morrissey headshot
Kieran Morrissey, MS, OTR/L, TPI L1
Kranthi Reddy Nalla, PT, MS
Kranthi Nalla headshot
Kranthi Reddy Nalla, PT, MS
Kathleen O'Donnell-Pickert, OTR/L, CHT
Kathleen O'Donnell-Pickert headshot
Kathleen O'Donnell-Pickert, OTR/L, CHT
Rebecca (Eliana) Savitsky, OTR/L
Rebecca Elaina
Rebecca (Eliana) Savitsky, OTR/L
Kathleen Siano, MS, OTR/L
Kathleen Siano headshot
Kathleen Siano, MS, OTR/L
Margaret "Maggie" Strode, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Margaret "Maggie" Strode headshot
Margaret "Maggie" Strode, MS, OTR/L, CHT
CHT, LSVT BIG, MS, OTR/L

Frequently asked questions about
Hand Therapy

For those who suffer from chronic pain or have experienced a hand, arm, or upper limb injury, hand therapy can be effective in improving symptoms and restoring function. Through hand therapy, patients find that they can return to their daily routine with less pain, or, in some cases, entirely pain-free.

The goal of hand therapy is to improve functionality in the upper limb, and therapists employ all different types of exercises and techniques to achieve that goal. Just like working out muscles at the gym may leave you sore the next day, hand therapy may leave your hand or arm feeling tender. While hand therapy is not typically painful, patients may experience discomfort during or after treatment.

For patients beginning hand therapy, the first session is an evaluation in which a certified physical or occupational therapist develops a treatment plan custom tailored to meet their needs and goals. Each subsequent session consists of the therapist guiding the patient through different techniques and exercises. These techniques include but are not limited to hands-on manipulation, range of motion exercises, strengthening, and stretching. Each hand therapy session will look different depending on the patient, condition, and goals.

When a patient begins hand therapy, their certified hand therapist or occupational therapist will perform an evaluation from which an individualized treatment plan will be developed. Depending on the injury or condition that has led a patient to seek hand therapy, there is often a home exercise program incorporated into the treatment plan.

Patients who are recovering from an injury can benefit greatly from hand therapy. Rehabilitation can help patients with healing, sensory re-education, and pain management. People who have experienced injuries may also need custom splinting to ensure proper healing and to prevent further injury.

Whether or not a patient needs a referral for hand physical therapy depends on the state. There are a number of states that permit patients to receive physical and occupational therapy without a referral from a doctor. However, with some insurance providers a referral is mandatory for patients who want their evaluation and treatment to be covered. Check with your insurance provider to determine whether or not you’ll need a referral from your medical doctor to receive hand physical therapy.

No two patients are exactly alike, and thus neither are any two outcomes. Patients typically experience incremental improvement with each session. Many patients continue hand physical therapy from two to four months, but the projected timeline varies based on the severity of the condition.

For patients beginning hand therapy, the first session is an evaluation in which a certified physical or occupational therapist develops a treatment plan custom tailored to meet their needs and goals. Each subsequent session consists of the therapist guiding the patient through different techniques and exercises. These techniques include but are not limited to hands-on manipulation, range of motion exercises, strengthening, and stretching. Each hand therapy session will look different depending on the patient, condition, and goals.

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