ASHT member's work spotlighted in Southwest Louisiana

Ellen Carman News Story
Posted by via KPLC 7 on 04/19/2017

ASHT member Ellen Carman was recently featured on her local news, bringing awareness of hand therapy in Southwest Louisiana.

Hand therapy returns patients to highest level of function

Wednesday, April 19th 2017
By Britney Glaser, Anchor

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Hands-on, physically-demanding jobs are a huge part of Southwest Louisiana's economy and they and they are also a big contributor to the need of a highly-specialized occupational therapy.

This is not just playing with putty inside the Lake Charles Memorial Outpatient Physical Rehab hand clinic. 

Jessica Fontenot is working with certified hand therapist, Ellen Carman, on strengthening her wrists after undergoing procedures on both the left and right wrists.

"The fatigue on both sides was overwhelming and just being able to get through the day was a huge effort," said Fontenot.

Fontenot has rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disorder where the body's immune system attacks its own tissue, having a debilitating effect on her joints.

"They [the wrists] wore away until there were no bones left," she said.

In 2010, Fontenot had her left wrist operated on after it had collapsed. Then last fall, she had her right wrist worked on, with the newer SwiveLock surgery done by hand specialist, Dr. Lawrence Weber.

Months of hand therapy followed, with the goal of healing and stabilizing the joints.

"We focus on activity modification to promote the healing, to stabilize the wrist, and then we add conditioning activities and various other activities as tolerated," said Carman.

Carman treats arthritic and post-op patients, but she also works a lot with job-related injuries, like pipefitters and welders.

"A lot of the injuries that I see in this community are table saw injuries, tendon injuries, partial or complete amputation of a digit, partial wrist replacements or procedures for a very unstable wrist," said Carman.

Custom splinting is a big part of recovery, something Carman does herself.

"They are meant to protect to healing surgical site and also provide protection for Jessica's joints," she said.

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