What Is Hand Therapy?
Hand therapy, a specialty practice area of physical therapy, is typically concerned with treating orthopedic-based upper-extremity conditions to optimize the functional use of the hand and arm. Conditions seen by the occupational therapy practitioner specializing in this area include fractures of the hand or arm, lacerations and amputations, burns, and surgical repairs of tendons and nerves. Acquired conditions such as tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome also are treated by occupational therapy practitioners specializing in hand rehabilitation. Practitioners who treat clients with conditions of the hand or arm can do so without additional formal education in most states. However, many practitioners choose to gain several years of experience before treating hand clients, and therapists may choose to become specially certified through the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (Hand Therapy Certification Commission, n.d.).
A Certified Hand Therapist is either a physical therapist or occupational therapist who specializes in working with patients who have problems affecting the hand, wrist, elbow, and/or shoulder. A CHT has a minimum of five years experience and a minimum of two years experience in direct hand therapy practice. The CHT credential assures the patients and physicians that the therapist has achieved the highest level of competency in hand therapy.
HealthWorks’ Certified Hand Therapist is Chris Wiley, CHT.