The hand is the most used organ of the body in daily life activities like eating, showering, etc. and so when an injury occurs to the upper extremity (hand, arm, elbow, shoulder), important occupations are affected and independence is decreased. Here comes the role of an occupational therapist of hand therapy department. Hand therapy is a specialist branch within Occupational Therapy. It is based around the treatment of mostly orthopaedic upper-extremity conditions aimed at enhancing the use of both the hand and arm. An Occupational therapist specialized in hand therapy often deals mostly with fractures, lacerations, amputations, burns, surgical repairs of tendons and nerves.
Occupational therapist specializing in hand rehabilitation focus on conditions such as tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Occupational therapist uses some of the treatment techniques to strengthening the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the hand, remove adhesion that results from surgery and restore the movement of the joint.
These treatments can include: manual therapy, pre- and post-operative care, exercise programs.
Unique benefits: the hand will be stronger going into surgery, which means it will also be stronger coming out of surgery that will protect the surgical repair and allow healing. Also, to prevent joint stiffness that may result from inactivity of the joint itself when the limb is splinted.
Occupational therapist uses various techniques and tools to enhance the treatment to each patient’s specific needs depending on their case and the UNIQUENESS of the person.
What are the most common reasons of hand injury?
Hand injuries are very common in worldwide. It is important to understand the causes of the injuries in order to prevent them. Proved by a study that the most common causes of hand injuries are falls, accidents, car crashes, and using machines without protection, aging has a contributing factor in developing arthritis, the dominant hand, which is the hand the person uses most, is the most injured hand. Males are more vulnerable to hand injuries than females, young adults are more prone to injuries due to the job and car accidents. In Kuwait most common reason of hand injuries is due to the repetitive use of the hand in specific tasks and car accidents. also, it was found that females are prone to develop trigger finger while men mostly fracture and tendon cut.
How to prevent hand injuries?
As the reasons of the hand injury are the falls, accidents, car crashes, using machines without protection and repetitive use, some people unfortunately underestimate the importance of the protection (such as wearing gloves while working). Other underestimate the effects of repetitive use of the hand, Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the examples of the repetitive use of the hand specially among adult and teen when using the phone, it compresses the nerve because of holding the phone for a long time and typing. Prevent this from happening by reducing the amount of time you hold the phone and change the hand positions every now and then, some other repetitive use of the hand belongs to the workers in factories who spend the most of their work time at the same movement pattern, remember always to take a break, take care of yourself, your safety and health is our priority.
Our treatment (follow your therapist instructions)
Always follow your therapist instruction and don’t ASSUME your own treatment:
Depending on your case, the occupational therapist will create an intervention (treatment) plan that is suitable and special for you. Your treatment plan might include some exercises, using a splint, or some instructions or precautions to avoid some movements. The treatment plan may differ based on the patient condition, his job and the extent of the injury.
Some of the exercises may include asking you to squeeze a ball or take a rubber and extend your fingers in order to strengthen your muscles and so many other reasons. These exercises may look simple and you might think that there is not any point of doing it or you might forget to do it. But!! please do not underestimate them as most successful of the treatment depends on you following the therapist instructions as those exercises will help you to regain you hand strength and movement again help us to help you.
The department of hand therapy is mainly in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Hospital (PMR hospital), and Al-Razi hospital. And you will be referred to them by your doctor.