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What is Hand Therapy? And Why You Need To See a Hand Therapist.


What is Hand Therapy? And Why You Need To See a Hand Therapist.

Hand therapy represents a cornerstone of rehabilitation and preventative strategies focusing keenly on conditions that afflict the hand and upper extremities. This specialised realm of therapy, predominantly administered by occupational therapists (OTs) or physiotherapists, merges in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology with rehabilitation techniques to formulate personalised treatment plans for patients.

But precisely what is hand therapy, and why should one consider it? This article delves into the essence of hand therapy, highlighting its significance, and the substantial impact it has on patients’ recuperation and life quality. Whether grappling with post-surgical recovery, chronic conditions like arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, or aiming to enhance functionality, hand therapy emerges as your first choice for recovery and healing.

Article Outline

  1. What Is Hand Therapy?
  2. What Does It Mean to Be a Certified Hand Therapist?
  3. Occupational Therapy’s Contribution to Hand Rehabilitation
  4. Addressing Common Conditions through Hand Therapy
  5. The Comprehensive Process of Hand Therapy
  6. Tailoring the Treatment: The Essence of Personalised Care
  7. Seeking a Hand Therapist: Navigating the UK Landscape
  8. The British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT): An Overview
  9. Hand Therapy’s Impact on Enhancing Daily Life
  10. The Preventative Dimension of Hand Therapy

What Is Hand Therapy?

Hand therapy is a specialised branch of rehabilitation, dedicated to managing conditions affecting the hand and upper limbs. Hand therapy is the non-surgical management of hand disorders. It encompasses a wide array of therapeutic interventions to restore function, alleviate pain, and enhance the patient’s quality of life following injury. An experienced hand therapist is an expert in customising care for patients with conditions affecting their wrist and hand. They will expertly assess and treat common hand disorders and injuries using various techniques ranging from manual therapy and splinting to scar management and exercise regimes.

What Does It Mean to Be a Certified Hand Therapist?

In the UK, a certified hand therapist (CHT) is an occupational therapist or physiotherapist with advanced post-graduate education and clinical experience in hand therapy. They are recognised by the British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT) and are required to maintain their expertise through continuous professional development. Their profound knowledge of hand and upper limb anatomy ensures patients receive the utmost care and specialised treatment.

Our hand therapy team at Central Health are all experts in the field with a minimum of five years working with hands. They are all registered occupational therapists or physiotherapists with a membership of BAHT. At CHP the hand therapist often works alongside surgeons, planning and implementing post-operative care in order to help patients’ recovery following surgery.

Occupational Therapy’s Contribution to Hand Rehabilitation

Occupational therapy (OT) plays a pivotal role in hand rehabilitation within the UK, focusing on enabling patients to return to their daily, work, and leisure activities. OT hand therapists also assess and address conditions to enhance hand function and facilitate independence. Through a hand therapist’s specialist assessment and treatment, individuals learn adaptive strategies and utilise therapeutic aids, fostering an improved quality of life.

Addressing Common Conditions through Hand Therapy

Hand therapy tackles a broad spectrum of conditions, from acute injuries such as fractures and lacerations to chronic diseases like arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and work-related upper limb disorder. It also plays a crucial role in post-operative care, ensuring optimal recovery and functionality following surgery of the hand or arm. This therapy aids in diminishing any pain and swelling, increasing strength, and preventing or minimising future issues.

The Comprehensive Process of Hand Therapy

Hand therapy entails an all-encompassing approach that includes detailed assessments and bespoke treatment plans. This may involve crafting custom splints for joint immobilisation, exercises to enhance mobility, and strategies for effective scar management. Hand therapists work closely with you to forge a treatment plan and corresponding home programme that addresses your specific needs and objectives.

Tailoring the Treatment: The Essence of Personalised Care

The cornerstone of hand therapy lies in its customised treatment plans, which address the distinct challenges and aspirations of each patient. Following a thorough initial assessment, therapists develop plans that consider the patient’s functionality, pain levels, and swelling. This customised approach ensures more efficacious outcomes and a swifter return to routine activities. 

Your treatment may include wound care, improving range of movement or even just reducing stiffness. Hand therapy helps with aids to daily living to improve your level of function. 

Seeking a Hand Therapist: Navigating the UK Landscape

Locating a qualified hand therapist in the UK requires diligent research and consultations. The British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT) offers resources and a directory to assist patients in finding certified professionals. Opting for an experienced and recognised therapist like our hand therapy service team guarantees that you receive specialised care tailored to your specific condition.

The British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT): An Overview

The BAHT is instrumental in the advancement of hand therapy across the UK. It provides educational resources, research opportunities, and practice standards to support hand therapists in their professional growth and in delivering the highest standard of care. Membership in the BAHT signifies a therapist’s dedication to their field and their commitment to ongoing education.

Hand Therapy’s Impact on Enhancing Daily Life

Hand therapy profoundly influences daily living by restoring hand and upper limb function and reducing pain. Therapists offer adaptive devices and strategies to aid with daily tasks, significantly improving patients’ independence and life quality. From personal care to professional responsibilities, hand therapy provides practical solutions to effectively manage daily challenges.

The Preventative Dimension of Hand Therapy

Preventative care forms an integral part of hand therapy, aiming to avert injuries or surgeries through early intervention. Therapists educate patients on ergonomics, proper hand and arm use, and exercises to complete at home to maximise recovery of your hand and wrist, mitigating the risk of future injuries. These preventative measures are customised to each patient’s lifestyle and activities, ensuring a comprehensive approach to hand health.

Key Takeaways

  • Customised Care: Hand therapy in the UK offers tailored treatment plans to meet individual patient needs and goals.
  • Specialised Professionals: Certified hand therapists possess advanced education and clinical experience, ensuring the highest care quality.
  • Holistic Treatment: Hand therapy encompasses a broad range of techniques from manual therapy to adaptive strategies and preventative care.
  • Life Quality Improvement: Restoring function and reducing pain through hand therapy significantly enhances daily living and independence.
  • Preventative Approach: Early intervention and education on proper hand use and ergonomics are crucial in preventing future injuries.

Is Hand Therapy Right For Me?

Hopefully, the information in this article will help you know if hand therapy may be right for your hand or wrist; or upper limb disorders. If you need a hand therapist in your area and you are based in London, we have specialist hand clinics in St John’s Wood and Chelsea.

Embarking on a hand therapy treatment journey with our team opens avenues to enhanced healing, improved functionality, and a superior quality of life. Through the expertise of our certified hand therapists and the support of organisations like the British Association of Hand Therapists, you can confidently navigate the path to recovery, embracing a future of greater independence and well-being.

Find out more about how our specialist hand therapy service in London can help you achieve the best possible treatment outcome for your hand, wrist or forearm condition.

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