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Occupational / Hand Therapy

What is Hand Therapy?

People value the use of their hands and any loss of function through injury, disease, or accident may have a devastating effect on their lives. Anyone with an injury wants the very best of treatment to assure maximal recovery.

Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper quarter of the human body. The “upper quarter” includes the fingers, thumb, hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, and shoulder. Hand therapy is a merging of occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) theory and practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the upper quarter, body function, and activity. Using specialized skills in assessment and treatment, hand therapists promote the goals of prevention of dysfunction, restoration of function, and/or reversal of the progression of pathology in order to enhance participation in life situations for individuals with upper quarter disease or injury.

These injuries may include:

  • Fractures within the arm/hand/fingers, tendon injuries and repairs
  • Cumulative trauma injuries such as carpal tunnel or tennis elbow
  • Shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff repairs or strains
  • Ligament injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Amputations

Certification in hand therapy is voluntary and difficult to attain. It involves meeting rigorous standards, developing a long-range career path, and acquiring the advanced study and training required to pass the certification examination.

A CHT (certified hand therapist) is an OT or PT who has a minimum of 5 years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, the CHT has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehab. A CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every 5 years.

Have questions? Give us a call at 815-484-6990.



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