Hand therapy is a special type of physical therapy that targets the use of the hands and wrists. There are several conditions and injuries that may significantly damage the hands or limit their use. Hand therapy is used as one part of the overall treatment strategy to decrease pain and increase functioning.
Sometimes people experience extensive injury to their hands which results in one or more fingers being amputated. Regardless of whether their fingers are reattached, hand therapy can help restore use of reattached fingers or help people adapt to use of their hand with missing fingers. When the fingers are reattached or they were repaired after a near amputation, therapy is critical to help improve nerve function in the fingers that were damaged. Some people are able to eventually gain normal function. Additionally, keeping the fingers moving as much as possible, even through passive movement, may limit the collection of scar tissue that can hinder recovery.
Regular hand exercises may reduce pain and stiffness associated with various forms of arthritis. Additionally, those with certain forms of inflammatory arthritis might benefit from hand therapy when deformities begin to occur. When deformities occur, they are not usually fixed, meaning the fingers can be straightened passively. At this stage, a therapist might recommend splinting the fingers to keep them from becoming permanently bent, or fixed. A combination of splinting and hand exercises may help some people retain more function in their hand. Once the deformities become fixed, splinting is no longer an option, but hand therapy may continue to help, especially to help people adapt to changes in their hand.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Hand therapy is not limited to the hands, but wrist problems are also managed with non-invasive treatments. A common wrist problem is the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes pain in the wrists and numbness in some fingers. This often occurs from repetitive use and hand therapy can help people devise better ways to dealing with repetitive tasks. For example, people who type often and for many hours may develop carpal tunnel. Using wrist braces during typing can help keep the hands and wrists in alignment so there is less stress on the nerves. Similarly, changing the position of your keyboard and using a keyboard with a wrist rest can also help.
Many hand conditions or injuries can be improved with hand therapy. Most people who participate will find some improvement in pain and the use of their hands.
For more information, contact companies like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.