“The human hand is one of the most precise and wonderful mechanical devices in creation and vastly more impressive than any mechanical device that man has made.”
– Stuart Burgess, Professor of Mechanical Engineering
What is Occupational Therapy?
Generally speaking, Occupational Therapy is a profession that has a broad range of definitions. You may come into contact with an Occupational Therapist in the hospital, in a rehab facility, in a nursing facility, in a school, working with community-based programs, in an outpatient clinic, and the list could go on. Basically, an Occupational Therapist helps people with a variety of impairments return to what is important to them. It can be said that Occupational Therapists have a holistic approach, so their treatments may focus on physical rehabilitation (range of motion, strengthening), figuring out appropriate accommodations, making necessary modifications, working with both the patient and the family, or a variety of other areas. At the core, Occupational Therapists focus on “occupations” and no, this does not necessarily refer to your job. “Occupation” refers to the tasks that are meaningful to you. In most settings, Occupational Therapists focus on particular occupations called activities of daily living (ADLs) – things like dressing, bathing, cooking, grooming, toileting, and transferring from one surface to another. However, the variety of occupations that they help people return to is as varied as the people they treat.
At Life In Motion, our Occupational Therapy department is very specialized. We focus on orthopedic rehabilitation of the hand and upper extremity. This is a particular practice area of Occupational Therapy that is simply referred to as “Hand Therapy.” See below for more details about Hand Therapy.
What is Hand Therapy?
In this setting, your Hand Therapist may help you recover from conditions such as fractures, tendon repairs, nerve repairs, sprains/strains, repetitive stress conditions, and joint replacements. You may be recently out of surgery or have a chronic condition. Either way, our team of physical therapists here at Life In Motion is here to help you through your recovery so you can return to the things you love.
What will my Hand Therapist do?
In order to help you along your road to recovery, a Hand Therapist may see from one to three times per week in the clinic. Together, you will set goals that are most important to you. Your Hand Therapist will design a home exercise program that you should perform at home as a supplement to the work that you will do in the clinic. During your therapy sessions, you will get to work one-on-one with your therapist on things like pain reduction, edema reduction, range of motion, strength, coordination, and dexterity. Everyone’s condition is unique and everyone’s goals are different – you and your Hand Therapist will decide together how to best meet your needs using a therapy plan that is tailored to you.
Can my Hand Therapist fabricate a custom orthosis for me particularly?
Absolutely. In layman’s terms, “orthosis” is another name for “splint.” Sometimes, “pre-fabricated” splints are not appropriate. Certain injuries or conditions required the fabrication of an orthosis that is custom made just for you. From small, finger orthoses to large ones that stabilize the whole arm, these can be fabricated here at Life In Motion. If your physician thinks that a custom orthosis is required for your condition, he/she will provide you with a prescription for the appropriate item.
What types of orthoses can be fabricated at Life In Motion?
- Mallet / tip protector
- Hand-based MP extension orthosis
- Forearm-based MP extension orthosis
- Wrist support
- Thumb Spica
- Resting Hand
- Dorsal blocking orthosis
- Long arm orthosis (with or without wrist)
- Bicep-style long arm orthosis (for distal bicep tendon repairs)
- Variety of dynamic orthoses
Sometimes, a well-known orthosis is not the answer because there can be several factors to consider at once. No problem. Talk to the therapist and tell them what you need. We always look forward to coming up with creative solutions to complicated problems.
Hand Therapy services include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Hand Therapy Evaluations
- Treatment of traumatic and non-traumatic injuries of the upper arm, elbow, wrist, and hand
- Upper Extremity Custom Orthoses
- Wound Care
- Edema Control
- Scar Management
- Manual Therapy
- Therapeutic Exercises to improve ROM, Strength & Functional Ability
- Sensory Re-Education
- HEP Instruction
If you or someone you know needs Hand Therapy (which includes the elbow, wrist, and hand), please don’t hesitate to Contact Us Today at Pinellas Park & Seminole, FL Centers! Schedule an appointment today so that we can get you back on track to doing the things you love!