AJC: Hand Therapy

Posted on 04/27/2016

ASHT member and volunteer Missy Thurlow recently shared information about hand therapy and her experiences in the field with the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Hand therapy
April 15, 2016 

For more than 20 years, Certified Hand Therapists (CHT) have been establishing their own solid grip on upper quarter rehabilitation. Yet that wasn’t always the case.

In 1991, the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC) offered its first exam. Today more 6,000 CHTs are administering care worldwide, more than 5,700 of them in the United States alone.

What is hand therapy?

In 2008, the HTCC crafted its official definition of hand therapy. They call it “the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb, which includes the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle.” It’s the convergence of occupation and physical therapy theories and practice with an encyclopedic knowledge of the various areas.

CHTs take that knowledge and apply it, beginning with assessment and planning. Then it’s off to the races with implementation and treatment. Cases run the gamut from cumulative trauma disorders like carpel tunnel to nerve disorders. Shoulder injuries, wrist fractures, elbow fractures and more fall under the CHT umbrella. Therapists provide intervention to stop dysfunction in its tracks, restore function or turn a progressive problem around. In a nutshell, they help patients get the most functionality out of their affected extremity.

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