Everything You Need to Know About Hand Therapy in NSW

hand therapy nsw

Made up of bones, connective tissues, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and veins, our hands and wrists are incredibly complex body parts. They’re responsible for performing movements and providing the strength and dexterity to carry out everyday tasks. We often take them for granted, until they get hurt or injured.

Do you know someone who has recently sustained hand or wrist injury? Whether you or your loved ones are healing from hand trauma, then be informed that hand therapy NSW can help you reach maximum improvement from your injury. With appropriate diagnosis and rehabilitation for injured hands and wrists, you can prevent possible disability.

Hand Therapy Explained

In simplest terms, hand therapy is the science of improving range of motion and developing strength in a person’s upper extremity, including the arms, elbows, forearms, hands, shoulders, and wrists. Individuals who have an injury or chronic condition affecting these parts usually seek hand therapy. Many people confuse hand therapy with physical therapy, which is a more common phrase among those who need therapeutic assistance.

Is there a difference between the two? Physical therapy treats the back, neck, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Hand therapy, on the other hand, focuses specifically on the shoulder to the wrists, including every joint and muscle in between. Hand therapy falls under and can be a component of physical therapy (PT) and occupation therapy (OT).

It helps individuals improve mobility and lessen pain in their upper extremity, allowing them to complete daily tasks. Hand therapy may be right for you if you are looking to regain functionality in some parts of your upper extremity.

What’s a hand therapist and what do they do?

Hand therapists in NSW are essentially occupational or physical therapists specialising in treating individuals with conditions and injuries affecting the upper extremity, particularly the hands. They are trained in anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology. With a PT or OT background, they go through extensive education and training to become certified hand therapists.

For an occupational therapist in NSW to specialise in and get certified for Hand Therapy, one should meet a minimum of five years of clinical experience with at least 4,000 hours involving upper extremity therapy. They must pass a certification exam. To retain their designation, certified hand therapists must complete continuing education every five years.

Qualified hand therapists can help you in so many ways. Their primary role and responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating and treating any problem related to the upper extremity
  • Offering preventative, non-operative, or conservative treatment or industry consultation
  • Working closely with the patient and physician to provide a continuum of care
  • If you have been injured or underwent surgery for shoulder fracture recently, seek therapeutic assistance so you can return to a productive lifestyle as soon as possible.

    What rehabilitation treatments are involved in hand therapy?

    Hand therapy in Sydney consists of not just one rehabilitation treatment. Treatments can be preventive, non-operative, or post-surgical. After a certified hand therapist evaluates your condition and consults with your physician or surgeon, he or she will develop a rehabilitation treatment plan best suited for your healing requirements.

    Therapy types may include the following:

  • custom orthotic creation
  • dexterity training
  • electrical stimulation
  • hot or cold packs
  • iontophoresis
  • injury avoidance education
  • joint movement
  • nerve desensitisation
  • occupational conditioning
  • pain management
  • range of motion activities
  • scar management
  • soft tissue procedures
  • strength exercises
  • taping
  • whirlpools
  • What illnesses and injuries can you treat with hand therapy in NSW?

    Hand therapy aims to lessen pain and regain average mobility and functionality among patients. It can improve conditions like:

    Amputations

    Parts affected: any part of the upper extremity
    Involves removal of appendage or a limb caused by disease, illness or injury

    Arthritis

    Parts affected: any part of the upper extremity
    Decreased range of motion caused by infections, intermittent or sharp pain, normal wear and tear, stiffness, and swelling

    Burns and Wounds

    Parts affected: any part of the upper extremity
    Blisters, pain, peeling or redness caused by damage to the skin cells or tissue

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Parts affected: hand or arm
    Numbness or tingling caused by a pinched nerve

    Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

    Parts affected: hand or arm
    Muscle weakness, numbness as a result of a pinched nerve, severe pain, tingling sensation around the hand or arm

    De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

    Part/s affected: wrist
    Tenderness, swelling, or pain caused by repetitive motions

    Dupuytren’s Contracture

    Part/s affected: ring and pinky finger
    Bent finger or lump in the palm caused by tissue tightening and thickening

    Fine Motor Skill Deficiencies

    Part/s affected: hands or fingers
    Coordination problems or muscle weakness caused by dyspraxia, stroke, or another disorder

    Ganglion Cyst

    Part/s affected: hand or wrist
    Benign lump on the joints or tendons

    Golfer’s Elbow

    Part/s affected: hand, fingers, elbow, or wrist
    Stiffness, tingling, or tenderness caused by repetitive stress to an area

    Hand Pain

    Part/s affected: entire hand
    Pain when moving finger or turning the wrist

    Repetitive Motion Disorder

    Part/s affected: any part of the upper extremity
    Joint stiffness, muscle weakness, or tingling caused by repetitive motion or overuse

    Sprains, Dislocations, Fractures

    Part/s affected: any part of the upper extremity
    Pain, swelling, or tenderness caused by physical trauma

    Tennis Elbow

    Part/s affected: forearm, outer elbow, or wrist
    Swelling, tenderness, or pain caused by a repetitive arm motion

    Trigger Finger

    Part/s affected: finger
    Clicking, tenderness, or stiffness caused by an inflamed tendon in the finger

    What to Expect During a Therapy Session

    Expect your therapist to measure your range of motion, strength, posture, and nerve sensation every session. This is to ensure that you are progressing every visit. Apart from conducting an assessment, your hand therapist will also discuss exercises to further your rehabilitation. This will help you recover quicker than just therapy sessions alone.

    Because therapy will involve stretching and such, you may feel uncomfortable. But don’t worry, any feeling of discomfort or tenderness actually dissipates in a day.

    SR Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation: Helping You Heal

    We hope you learned all essential things there is to know about hand therapy. Here at SR Occupation Therapy and Rehabilitation, we are your helping hand when it comes to recovering from any injury in the upper extremity. Turn to our team of dedicated professionals for hand therapy NSW.