Occupational therapists help their clients maximize their independence with daily activities after injury to the hand, wrist or elbow. Often one’s independence is related to how they complete self-care, work and leisure activities. The upper body tends to be critical in the achievement of independence. Hence, some occupational therapists specialize in the treatment of hand, wrist and elbow injuries.
Injuries may be a result of a trauma or accident such as wrist and finger fractures or tendon injuries. Other conditions may be a result of arthritis or repetitive stress to the upper extremity including carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel and tennis or golfer’s elbow.
CVMC Rehabilitation Therpay has a Certified Hand Therapist who has been trained in the additional techniques necessary to provide hand therapy. Hand therapists teach exercises, apply modalities and create custom orthosis (splints) to help the hand heal and to protect it from additional injury.
An Occupational Thearapist may opt to issue an orthosis (splint) to help support the injured area.
What is an orthosis?
An orthosis, by definition, is an external, custom-made medical device that is used to support, align, prevent or correct deformities of a body part. An OT would select and fit the appropriate orthosis based on the patient’s needs.
Types of orthoses
A prefabricated (off the shelf) orthosis may be sufficient in providing the level of support the patient needs for the current injury. The therapist would instruct the patient how to place the splint on correctly, make any adjustments as needed and explain when the patient should be wearing the orthosis.
A custom splint would be fabricated during the visit. The therapist would measure and form the orthosis to the patient for optimal fit. The patient would be instructed in how to care for the orthosis as well as the best wearing schedule to support and assist the injured area for healing.