According to Marybeth Ezaki, MD, past president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, hand therapy “can make the difference between success and failure in complex hand surgical cases.”

Hand therapy became a specialty to address the unique and specialized treatments needed to restore the complex arm movements from the shoulders to the wrists, hands, and fingertips.

Hand therapists have expert knowledge of hand and arm anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology. They use proven therapy methods to increase the movement of the hand, forearm, or wrist after a person experiences a movement-limiting illness, injury, or surgery.

Certified hand therapists (CHT) are occupational or physical therapists who receive advanced and specialized training. Certification often requires an additional three to five years of education, 4,000 hours of experience treating hand conditions, and successful completion of an exam.

Whether a patient is recovering from surgery, an illness, arthritis, stroke, or conditions affecting the nerves, hand therapists continue the treatment of the orthopedic specialists to ensure patients recover with as much normal function as possible.

Hand therapists specialize in:

  • Post-surgical rehabilitation to promote recovery
  • Non-surgical interventions to relieve joint pain
  • Preventive care
  • Adaptive therapy

A hand therapist can teach you how to maximize your energy and movement while protecting the joints, tendons, and ligaments in your hands and arms.