Hand Therapists are specialists with knowledge and skills in the assessment and treatment of the upper limb. The goal of therapy is to prevent deterioration and restore maximum function to the hand. Therapists work in close coordination with the Orthopaedic surgeons and helps the patient to achieve optimal function after injury or surgery.
Hand therapists are Occupational Therapists who, through advanced study, specialise in rehabilitating patients with conditions affecting the hand and upper limb. The Hand Therapy Team receives referrals from consultants for patients who have been affected by trauma, disease, repetitive motion disorders and progressive conditions affecting the joints, tendons and nerves of hand and upperlimb or who have had surgery to their hand.
A hand therapy assessment may include reviewing the wound and scar condition, swelling (oedema), range of movement, strength, hand function, sensibility (how your skin perceives or recognises touch and temperature) and pain. The therapists also consider the psychological, emotional, employment and social implications. Where possible, treatment will always be tailored to the individual’s unique set of circumstances. Hand therapy treatment may include wound management, scar management, oedema control, pain control, sensory re-education, exercises to increase range of movement and strengthening of the hand. Treatment is delivered using computerised activities, patient education, training and equipment for activities of daily living and make bespoke/custom-made splints.
Unlike the splints that are available commercially, the splints designed by the hand therapists are designed based on the knowledge of pathology, physiology, anatomy, kinesiology and biomechanics. Splints are used for the purposes of immobilisation to protect the hand following surgery, support and rest, correct positioning, mobilising joints, control and correction of deforming forces and compensation for absent or weak muscle power e.g. as a result of nerve damage.
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