Certified Hand Therapy

Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute is proud to say we have 10 Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) specialists spread across our 12 rehab locations. Certified Hand Therapists treat 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.  With the help of our Certified Hand Therapists (CHT) across 9 locations over the Northeast Florida region, patients will regain the independence they experienced prior to their injuries. Our CHT's at Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute are trained in splint fabrication, where they make custom splints out of heat sensitive plastic molded to perfectly fit a patient with the use of hot water to provide a unique splint, specific to each patient. Dr. Garry Kitay wrote "we are very fortunate to have outstanding hand therapists at JOI, and actually the greatest number of certified therapists in Northeast Florida. Their comprehensive knowledge of the rehabilitation of conditions of the hand and upper extremity, combined with our collaborative approach to patient care, is a large part of our success in curing upper extremity pain and dysfunction."  Dr. Kitay is an Orthopaedic Hand Specialist at the JOI San Marco location. 



JOI Certified Hand TherapistImage of hand

Common Hand/Wrist Injuries for Certified Hand Therapy

By: Julia Guthart, OTR/L, CHT – Site Coordinator/Hand Therapy Director

At the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute our CHT's treat a number of different hand/wrist injuries.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

The most common cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an excessive amount of pressure being applied to the wrist, especially on the median nerve.  This pressure can be applied through many different areas such as: 

  1. Broken or dislocated wrist bones
  2. Inflammation through repeated movements 
  3. Illnesses/conditions that lead to swelling in the joints such as obesity or rheumatoid arthritis.  


The symptoms for Carpal Tunnel have a wide range that can affect the patient.  Symptoms include:

  1. Hand "falling asleep"
  2. Numbness in thumb and index fingers
  3. Pain in the palm or wrist


Certified hand therapy is helpful after a Carpal Tunnel release has been performed (surgery).

Trigger Finger

Understanding trigger finger is important when deciding how to or when to treat the inflammatory to surgery. For those who elect surgery there is a slight risk of developing a stiffness in the particular digit. In these cases certified hand therapy can help for regaining motion.

Wrist Fractures

A wrist fracture is more commonly known as a broken wrist.  A fracture can occur in any of the eight bones that make up the wrist or the two long bones making up the forearm, the radius and ulna.  The most common cause of a wrist fracture is falling onto an outstretched hand.  Osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones due to deficient calcium, can put a person at a higher risk of a wrist fracture.  Depending on the severity of the fracture, orthopedic surgery may be required.  However, immobilization of the wrist over a period of time can allow the wrist to properly heal.  A typical wrist fracture will heal in 6-8 weeks.  After about four to six weeks of immobilization, your physician may remove the cast. You may then be referred to Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy or Certified Hand Therapy.  JOI is the exclusive provider for Activarmor casts in Jacksonville.  Here are the benefits of Activarmor versus a traditional cast: 

  • Waterproof Cast
  • Breathable Cast Material
  • Fixed or Removable Cast
  • Light-weight
  • Custom Fabricated with Multiple Colors
  • Improved Hygiene of the involved body part

Additional benefits include:

  • Hygienic benefits including the ability to bathe and shower with it on to aid reducing risk of catching viruses such as the cold or flu.
  • Reduced feelings of claustrophobia
  • Improved skin condition and comfort
  • Reduced irritation due to breath-ability and improved hygiene options
  • Reduced office time and visits for re-casting and re-fitting due to soggy casts, deformed splints or worn velcro
  • Patients can have access to post-surgical incisions for wound dressing and follow-up care at home

Anatomy of the Wrist Anatomy of the Wrist

Tendon Injuries

Tendons connect the muscles in our body to the bones.  If these become irritated they become inflamed and is referred to as tendonitis. Tendonitis is caused by a repetitive use of a certain part of the body.  Tendonitis can often be treated with ice, or resting the affecting area.  In more severe cases, physical therapy is prescribed to address weaknesses or inflexibility in the surrounding muscles both of which can predispose the tendons to tendonitis. The most common types of tendonitis include Tennis Elbow, Golfer's Elbow, or Little Leaguer's Elbow.

Rotator Cuff Tears

The most common cause for a tear in the rotator cuff is repetitive use over time. Those who make overhead movements, such as pitchers in baseball, are more prone to a rotator cuff tear. Treatment depends on the severity of the injury.  It can be treated surgically or through physical therapy, or a combination of the two. The average recovery time to be able to fully use their arm is 4-6 months.  To learn more about exercises for the rotator cuff, please read: https://www.joionline.net/library/show/rotator_cuff_exercises1/


Where is Telemedicine frequently used?

All JOI Physicians, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists now offer Telemedicine services for virtual visits from the convenience of your home.

If you feel that it is best to stay in your own home during this time, we can still provide orthopaedic Telehealth services for you. Through the download of the free Zoom app on your phone, tablet or laptop. Our physicians and Telehealth for Physical Therapy can evaluate you and provide the care you need.

 JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.


To learn more about Certified Hand Therapy or to book an appointment with a CHT at The Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute call 904-JOI-2000 or click BOOK APPOINTMENT below.

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