Certified Hand Therapist: Why You Need One

By: Craig Bradfield MS, OTRL, CHT

Injuries or conditions affecting our hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders can severely impact our daily lives. They hinder our ability to perform basic tasks and pursue our passions. Seeking professional help for hand rehabilitation is crucial to ensure a successful recovery. A certified hand therapist (CHT) possesses specialized knowledge and expertise in rehab of the hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder. This makes them an essential part of the recovery process. In this post, we will explore the significance of using a CHT and how their expertise can make a difference in your recovery journey.


Specialized Training and Knowledge:

Certified hand therapists undergo extensive training and education in the anatomy, biomechanics, and pathologies of the hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder This specialized knowledge equips them to assess and address a wide range of hand-related issues more effectively than general therapists. A CHT must work for at least three years in a hand therapy setting and accrue at least 4000 hours of patient contact before passing a rigorous certification exam. Extensive continuing education is also required to maintain certification.


Personalized Treatment Plans:

CHTs work closely with patients to create personalized treatment plans tailored to their specific needs and goals. Each rehabilitation program is designed to maximize function, reduce pain, and enhance the overall quality of life for the individual.


Comprehensive Evaluation and Diagnosis:

When it comes to hand injuries or conditions, accurate diagnosis is critical for successful rehabilitation. Certified hand therapists are skilled in conducting thorough evaluations, which enable them to identify the root cause of the problem and design an appropriate treatment plan.


Expertise in Various Techniques:

CHTs are well-versed in a variety of therapeutic techniques and exercises targeted at improving hand strength, flexibility, and dexterity. From manual therapy to custom splinting, they utilize a wide range of evidence-based methods to aid the recovery process.


Postoperative Care and Rehabilitation:

For individuals who have undergone hand surgery, or surgery to anywhere else in the upper extremity, postoperative care is crucial for a smooth and successful recovery. Certified hand therapists collaborate with surgeons to provide specialized rehabilitation plans that promote healing and optimize functional outcomes.


Pain Management Strategies:

Chronic hand pain can be debilitating, affecting not only physical but also emotional well-being. CHTs incorporate various pain management strategies into their treatment plans, helping patients cope with discomfort and regain confidence in their abilities.


Prevention and Education:

A significant aspect of hand therapy involves educating patients on injury prevention and self-management techniques. CHTs empower individuals to take an active role in their recovery by providing valuable insights on ergonomic practices and lifestyle adjustments. Education on joint protection and avoiding overuse of your arm can be a key component to your treatment plan.


Better Outcomes and Faster Recovery:

Studies have shown that working with a certified hand therapist leads to better treatment outcomes and faster recovery rates. Their specialized expertise can make a substantial difference in regaining functionality and improving the overall quality of life.


When it comes to hand injuries or conditions, enlisting the help of a certified hand therapist is a decision that can significantly impact your rehabilitation journey. Their specialized knowledge, personalized treatment plans, and dedication to your well-being ensure that you receive the highest level of care. Whether you’re recovering from an injury, managing a chronic condition, or seeking postoperative rehabilitation, a certified hand therapist can be your trusted partner on the path to recovery and a return to a fulfilling, active life.