If you've ever experienced chronic hand pain, you know how it can affect your quality of life. Even simple tasks can become difficult, and your range of motion may be limited. That's where hand therapy with a certified hand therapist can help.
But what exactly is a hand therapist? How are they different from other types of therapists? And what can they do to help relieve your pain?
At , we have a team of who specialize in upper extremity therapy. Our team is dedicated to helping our patients reduce their pain, improve their function, and restore their hands to their full potential.
Here's everything you need to know about certified hand therapists and how they can help you get your life back:
What Is a Certified Hand Therapist?
A certified hand therapist (CHT) is a licensed occupational or physical therapist who has specialized training in upper extremity rehabilitation. This means they specialize in providing therapeutic interventions for conditions affecting the hand, wrist, and elbow.
In order to earn their CHT certification, therapists must complete at least five years of clinical practice and pass a comprehensive exam administered by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission. Then, they must maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits every four years.
So, what does this mean for you? When you work with a CHT, you can rest assured that you're receiving the highest quality of care possible. These therapists have the advanced certification, training, and experience necessary to provide the most effective treatment for your specific condition.
What's The Difference Between CHT Vs Physical Therapy?
While both certified hand therapists and physical therapists can provide treatments for conditions affecting the hand, wrist, and elbow, there are some key differences between the two.
For one, someone with a CHT credential has undergone specialized training in upper extremity rehabilitation than a physical therapist. This means they have a more in-depth understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the hand, wrist, and elbow. As a result, they're better able to assess and treat conditions that affect these areas of the body.
Additionally, CHTs typically have more clinical experience working with patients who have hand injuries. They have knowledge of the unique challenges that come along with these types of injuries and how to best address them.
What's the Difference Between CHT Vs Occupational Therapy?
Like CHTs, occupational therapists also have specialized training in upper extremity rehabilitation. However, there are still some differences to consider between one profession and the other.
Certified hand therapists focus on treating hand conditions and helping patients improve their hand function so they can perform activities of daily living and participate in work and leisure activities. On the other hand, an occupational therapist will focus on helping patients perform activities of daily living in a less targeted way.
Additionally, while CHTs use a variety of techniques to help their patients, they typically focus on therapeutic exercises. Occupational therapists, on the other hand, may use other interventions, such as splinting and modalities.
What Are the Benefits of Working With a CHT?
There are many benefits to working with a certified hand therapist, including:
Improved Hand Function
CHTs can help improve your hand function so you can better perform activities of daily living. They will design a personalized treatment plan that includes therapeutic exercises and interventions specifically aimed at improving your hand function.
Reduced Pain and Inflammation
CHTs can also help reduce pain and inflammation in the hand, wrist, and elbow. They will work with you to find the best possible treatments to help relieve your pain and get you back to your daily activities.
Certified hand therapy is non-operative, and in some cases, working with a CHT can help you avoid surgery. They will treat you with the necessary interventions and therapies to help improve your condition and prevent the need for surgical intervention.
CHTs can also help prevent future injury by teaching you how to properly care for your hand, wrist, and elbow. They will provide you with information on proper posture, ergonomics, and exercises that can help strengthen the muscles and tissues around the joints.
Improved Quality of Life
When you work with a CHT, you can improve your overall quality of life. These therapists will help you regain function and independence so you can participate in the activities you enjoy. Additionally, they can provide support and guidance to help you cope with the physical and emotional challenges that come along with an upper extremity injury.
If you're dealing with a hand, wrist, or elbow injury, working with a certified hand therapist can help you improve your condition and quality of life. These therapists have the specialized training and experience necessary to provide the most effective treatment possible.
What Conditions Can Certified Hand Therapy Treat?
CHTs can provide therapy and treatment for a wide variety of conditions that affect the upper extremities (hand, wrist, and elbow). Some of the most common conditions the CHTs at OAA see in patients include:
- De Quervain's tenosynovitis: An inflammation of the tendons and surrounding tissue in the thumb.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: A condition that occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the wrist, causing pain and numbness.
- Tennis elbow: An overuse injury that leads to inflammation of the tendons and muscles around the elbow.
- Tendonitis: Inflammation of a tendon in the hand and upper extremity, typically caused by overuse or repetitive motion.
- Arthritis: A degenerative joint condition that leads to pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
- Nerve injuries: Injuries to the nerves that can cause pain, numbness, and tingling.
- Fractures: A break in the bone of an upper limb, typically caused by trauma or overuse.
If you're dealing with any of these conditions, or any other hand, wrist, or elbow injury, working with a certified hand therapist can help. These therapists can provide you with the treatment you need to improve your condition and regain function.
Get Started With a Hand Therapy Specialist Near You
Working with a can provide many benefits, especially if you're dealing with an upper extremity injury. CHTs are specifically trained to treat conditions that affect the hand, wrist, and elbow, and they can provide you with the interventions and therapies you need to improve your condition.
If you're looking for certified hand therapy specialists near you, look no further than OAA Orthopaedic Specialists. We have a team of who are dedicated to helping patients improve their condition and quality of life.