The hand and arm are complex parts of the human body that allow us to do so much in our life. This complexity and high amounts of use can lead to sprains, strains, over-use injuries and other conditions specific to the arm and hand. To be able to better help those dealing with problems in the arm and hand, physiotherapists and occupational therapists have developed assessment and treatment techniques specific to this region which they call hand therapy.
Some physiotherapists and occupational therapists choose to learn even more to better serve those with arm and hand problems. After gaining 4000 clinical hours working on the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder and intensive periods of self-study, a rigorous examination process can be completed. After successful completion of this examination a therapist can now use the designation Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). CHT’s are required to maintain their credentials by attending courses and conferences and re-certify every 5 years. Certified Hand Therapists work in hospitals in specialized hand clinics and in private practices. They often work closely with physician specialists such as Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons and Orthopaedic Surgeons that specialize in hands (also known as Hand Surgeons).
Some Hand Therapists, most often in hospital hand clinics, work with patients immediately after intricate hand surgery and can fabricate splints to help in the recovery process. Others in private practice help people recover from sprained or broken wrists from falls, arthritis of the hand and thumb, tendon overuse injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, elbow fractures, shoulder dislocation, rotator cuff pain and many other conditions.