Hand pain – Occupational therapy for hand

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Hand pain – Occupational therapy for hand

wrist pain

Due to change in nature of work in recent times, most people working from home with different postures, uncomfortable work desks, long work hours, excessive use of phones and computers, hand, elbow pains are quite common occurrences.

Hand therapy is a specialized healthcare service provided mainly by occupational therapists which focuses on the rehabilitation of the upper limb (elbow, forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and thumb).

The hand is one of the most important parts of our bodies, responsible for completing most of our daily tasks, such as self-care, work and leisure activities. 

The aim of hand therapy is to promote healing and maximize the function of the hand and upper limb, allowing individuals to return to performing activities (e.g. work-related activities, sports and hobbies) which are meaningful to them.

For upper limb conditions or injuries that do not require surgery, hand therapy treatment may include :

  • Splinting
  • range of motion exercises
  • strengthening
  • therapeutic modalities such as wax bath therapy and ultrasound therapy.
  • post-operative management of hand and upper limb injuries.

Common conditions/injuries of hand and upper limb include:

  • Fractures and/or joint dislocations of the elbow, forearm, wrist, palm, fingers and thumb
  • Joint or ligament injuries (e.g. TFCC injury)
  • Nerve compressions, injuries and repairs
  • Tendon injuries and repairs (e.g. mallet finger, tendon lacerations)
  • Repetitive strain injuries (e.g. trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, tendinitis)
  • Crush injuries, nail bed injuries, finger amputations
  • Sports injuries to the upper limb
  • Pain, myofascial and overuse conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Dupuytren’s contracture

A hand therapist will customise therapy plans based on the condition, symptoms and needs. Treatment options may include:

  • Heat therapy
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Exercises to improve joint and muscle movements
  • Management of swelling
  • Scar management and desensitization
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Soft tissue, manual and trigger point release therapy
  • Sensory re-education following nerve compression/injury
  • Pain relief/management
  • Functional retraining and preparation for return to work
  • Ergonomics advice on posture on workstation set up
  • Personalised home exercise program
  • Customized splinting services for both upper and lower limbs.