Hand & Wrist Therapy
Many people deal with hand and arm pain on a daily basis. Whether you have a traumatic injury or a condition that has bothered you for a while, our hand specialists Eric Angermeier, MD and Kyle Kokko, MD, PhD, can help you determine if occupational therapy is a helpful way to promote your healing.
Your doctor may refer you to occupational therapy to treat many conditions, for example:
- Tendon or nerve repairs
- Nerve compression (carpal tunnel or cubital tunnel syndromes)
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
- Trigger finger/Trigger thumb
- Dupuytren’s Contracture
- Scar Adhesions
- Joint stiffness
- Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) or Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
- Complex regional pain syndrome
Once your doctor refers you to occupational therapy, your evaluation with the therapist determines the best combination of approaches for a customized rehabilitation program. With the guidance of your occupational therapist, you learn ways to alleviate pain, reduce swelling (edema), improve motion and strength on a safe but efficient timeline, and maximize your ability to use your hand for your everyday activities.
Treatment might include:
- Custom-designed orthoses (splints) to promote healing or reduce pain when you use your hands
- Individualized home rehabilitation routines to build your range of motion, strength, and coordination
- Education for a large variety of techniques to reduce pain and swelling
- Wound monitoring
- Assistive device training to help you get through activities more independently while you are recovering or if you need a long-term solution for difficult tasks
- Education for strategically managing long-term conditions (like osteoarthritis)
- Ergonomic training to prevent re-injury
Common misconceptions about rehabilitative therapy are that it will be very painful, that it is too soon, or that you will be dependent on the therapist for a long time. In fact, the goal of therapy is to help you develop the skills to get pain and swelling under control as soon as possible so that you feel better, rest better, and heal better. Once that is underway, you are trained in the right exercises and activities for your stage of recovery. Some conditions require more therapy visits than others depending on complexity or severity, but the education you receive from your therapist is intended to help you see noticeable improvement from visit to visit. If something isn’t working for you, your therapist will help you find alternatives that make your therapy a good match for you. Ask your doctor if you would like to know more about what role occupational therapy might play in your healing process.