Hand therapy is a type of specialized rehabilitation for patients with hand injuries and conditions that may be performed by a physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT), or a certified hand therapist (CHT).
A CHT is a PT or OT who has a minimum of five years of clinical experience and direct practice in hand therapy. CHTs must also pass a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills.
Dr. Kwon feels that for many conditions, particularly trauma, fractures, tendon, and nerve injuries, the quality of the patient's post operative therapy is just as important as the quality of the surgery in determining long-term outcomes.
Patients who receive hand therapy at Southwest Hand and Microsurgery benefit from having Dr. Kwon directly available for supervision and consultation with the therapist, but we also have relationships with many excellent therapists in the DFW area.
Hand therapy involves comprehensive and individualized evaluation and treatment, including:
- Management of acute or chronic pain
- Post-operative rehabilitation
- Therapeutic exercise
- Desensitization following nerve injury or trauma
- Sensory re-education after nerve injury
- Design and implementation of home exercise programs to increase motion, dexterity and/or strength
- Teaching patients how to perform daily and work activities
- Conditioning prior to returning to work
- Training in the use of prosthetics
- Wound and scar management
Hand therapists often work with patients who have suffered an accident or trauma that resulted in wounds, scars, burns, injured tendons or nerves, fractures, or even amputations of the fingers, hands, or arms.
Others include patients who have undergone surgery of the hand or upper extremity, those who are affected by conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive use injuries, and those who suffer from such chronic problems such as arthritis or a neurologic condition.
After Your Surgery
Your hand therapist will play an integral part in the healing and rehabilitation process following your hand surgery. Your therapist may:
- Change your dressing
- Make a splint to protect and position your hand or arm in the proper position for healing
- Develop an individualized exercise program in coordination with Dr. Kwon’s instructions, designed to restore function to your hand. These exercises will be done slowly and gently at first, then with gradually increased intensity as your strength builds.