You may have heard of Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs) and wondered if they are the only therapists that can treat hand injuries. You may have also wondered why therapists needed a special certification to treat a specific body part. The truth is that the hand is a very complex part of the body to treat. It is highly innervated (which means has a lot of nerve endings to help you sense touch, pressure, and pain), it has a lot of very small structures compressed into a very small area, and the hand is crucial to how humans function on a daily basis. While CHTs are not the only therapists who can treat hand injuries, CHTs are hand experts who have completed years of specialized training. If you have a hand injury, these are the therapists you need to see.
Hand therapy is both an art and science. It involves rehabilitating more than just the hand. Because the hand is so integral to functional activities we perform on a daily basis, many other body parts may be involved in the rehabilitation process. Injuries of the hand can often be complex and include damage to nerves, tendons, bones, joint capsule structures, vascular tissues (which supply blood to the hand). There are many hand conditions that can require certified hand therapy. Some of the most common are fractures, tennis elbow and nerve compressions. Pain in the arm, hand or wrist can also be helped by hand therapy. If you have trigger finger, a condition that causes pain or stiffness when you bend your fingers, hand therapy can help you when your finger gets stuck in a locked position. If you have been injured at work or through an accident and have lost a portion of your hand, a hand therapist can help you through this traumatic event. Certified Hand Therapists can also assist after surgical repair of tendons or joints through a procedure called custom splinting. Custom splinting can also help facilitate function after a nerve laceration. These are some of the reasons why patients should seek out a CHT when they experience any type of hand injury. When a patient visits a Certified Hand Therapist, the patient should be confident in knowing the therapist is highly trained in assessment and treatment of the issues the patient faces, but they should also be well versed in occupational and physical therapy theory and practice. If you have a condition that is not listed here that you think may benefit from hand therapy, schedule a consultation with a hand therapist to find out if hand therapy is right for you.
At Momentum Physical Therapy, we have three Certified Hand Therapists on our team who are ready to help and guide you through the recovery process. Those CHTs include: Doris Crofts, Sylvia Davila and Joan Millwater. Contact Momentum Physical Therapy for more information or to request treatment from our Certified Hand Therapy team.