By Julia Guthart, OTR/L CHT
JOI Hand Therapy
JOI Rehab provides comprehensive preventative and post-surgical Hand Therapy/Occupational Therapy services. These services are typically designed to prevent dysfunction and maximize functional recovery for patients who have sustained an injury. Our program is designed to have a close relationship between the physician (hand specialist) and the clinician who is treating the patient in therapy.
Hand therapy is the specialization of evaluating and treating the upper extremity (UE) which consists of shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. Hand Therapy treats various conditions and diagnosis of the entire Upper Extremity including trauma, arthritis, infection, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), Trigger finger, fractures, tendon injuries, rotator cuff shoulder injuries (RTC) and many other conditions which affect the quality of life. Hand therapy helps patients regain functional use of their UE/hand by improving strength, range of motion, managing pain, swelling, wound and scar care which allow them to regain independence in activities of daily living (ADL’s).
Your hand therapist will have a number of therapeutic tools/exercise activities at their disposal to help you achieve highest functional use of your hand/UE. Range of motion (ROM), strengthening exercises, customized orthotic splinting, education, adaptive equipment and modalities are key components of your hand therapy rehabilitation program.
The hand therapy team is made up of Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists who through advanced education and clinical experience have become specialized in treating UE conditions. Many of JOI hand therapists are Certified Hand Therapist (CHT’s) which is the highest level of competence in hand therapy practice. JOI Hand Therapists work closely with doctors and surgeons to ensure highest functional outcomes and attend MD Clinic Rounds with our JOI hand surgeons.
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi
JOI Rehab employs 9 Certified Hand Therapists in North Florida Area. Our goal is to provide the highest quality of rehabilitation services for the patients that we serve.
Hand injuries, such as tendon lacerations or other upper extremity injuries, such as broken bones, can occur in a variety of ways. A splint can protect and immobilize these joints, and depending on the injury, there can be a variety of splints. Splints are made out of a heat sensitive plastic which is custom molded with use of hot water. Typically a sock is placed on an individual’s hand while the splint is being molded for comfort. This splint can typically be taken off for certain activities of daily living (ADLs) such as showering or dressing. It also can be cleaned with soap and water. Just be extra careful, as dogs and other small animals like them too!
The most common reason a splint is prescribed is for protection and immobilization. A splint for finger fractures is called a safe position splint. This requires the patient’s metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints to be bent approximately 70 degrees. This is needed for proper healing. The site of the fracture will determine the length of the splint. If the fracture is closer to the tip of the finger, the splint may only need to be hand-based. If the fracture is lower into the hand the splint may need to be forearm based. Another common splint is a Long Arm Splint. This requires the patient’s elbow to be flexed at 90 degrees and the forearm in a neutral position. This is common splint for most injuries, such as elbow fractures and surgeries needed to relocate nerves in the elbow.
While typically used for immobilization and protection, a splint can be used to increase range of motion (ROM) in joints. With some injuries an individual can develop stiffness in their joints. Static progressive or dynamic splinting can help increase the motion. These types of splints are made through the use of springs or elastic bands that increase movement. These splints are initiated and controlled by the patient and can be adjusted for comfort and to set the appropriate stretch. All splints are prescribed by a physician and it is up to the doctor and your therapist to determine splinting frequency and duration.
“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others” – Audrey Hepburn
“In fact, I believe the hands are among the most important part of the human being, third only to the brain that guides us and the heart that drives us” – Terri Wolfe, 1997 presidential address at ASHT.
AOTA explains ”Occupational therapy in simple terms as helping people across the lifespan participate in thing they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. Common OT intervention is helping recovery from injury to regain skill.”
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045. Come see us!