In the span of one hour, pay attention to how many times you use your hands.  To hold your phone, feed yourself, do your job, drive your car, scratch your face, rub your eyes, help your loved one, open a door, pick up anything… the list goes on and on.  Our hands are extremely important, but rarely are they fully appreciated.  Until, that is, we have trouble using them…
In our PT world, where pain-free mobility is our primary focus every day, we realize that physical therapy often gets a lot more attention than occupational therapy and specifically hand therapy.  In this issue, we want to take a moment to give a “high-five!” to hand therapy and provide you a greater understanding of the problems hand therapy helps and the intensity of the training it takes to become and stay a Certified Hand Therapist.
While hand therapy commonly references treatment of the hands, it actually includes treatment of the upper extremities, including the arms, hands, wrists, elbows, forearms, and shoulders.  People who have any of the following conditions benefit from hand therapy:
• Arthritis
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Golfer’s Elbow
• Tennis Elbow
• Traumatic Injuries (surgical and non-surgical)
• Flexor Tendon Repairs
• Amputations
• Burns and wounds
• Hand pain
• Repetitive Motion Disorders
• plus, a number of other conditions…
At our clinic, we focus a lot on the function of the hand and areas such as pain management, scar management, swelling, sensory re-education, range of motion, strength and more.  We also fabricate custom splinting right here on site.
Becoming a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is intense and likely one of the reasons there are just under 6,500 CHT’s around the globe.
A CHT must first become an Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist, have at least 3 years of experience, plus 4,000 hours of experience providing upper extremity rehabilitation before they can become certified. And, once they are certified, they have to renew the credential every 5 years through at least 80 hours of continuing education.  We are really fortunate to have a highly experienced and respected CHT on our team and she has been with us for over 20 years.
In recognition of this important therapy and learn more about how she helps patients regain their abilities, check out this video with our own Kris Moonan, OTR/L, CHT.