What Can You Expect When Recovering from a Hand Injury

certified hand therapy

Injuries to the hand or wrist can be highly disruptive to patients, interfering with the ability to perform the simplest of tasks. When unable to dress yourself, make a cup of coffee, or eat a meal because of a hand injury, it’s imperative that your recovery is guided by experts in hand therapy.

What is a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT)?

A certified hand therapist is a physical or occupational therapist who has achieved the highest level of certification in the management of upper extremity injuries. Certification requires rigorous preparation and years of clinical experience, prior to even sitting for the examination.

What will I be doing in therapy?

It depends. At Axes Physical Therapy, our alliance with you begins before your first session in therapy. At intake, we will ask you a series of questions intended to get to know you, not just your injured body part. This will include questions about your interests, activities, and expectations for rehabilitation. From there, based upon your injury or surgery and your goals for recovery, your certified hand therapist will design a treatment program specific to you and your goals. Some patients are looking to return to work which requires a great deal of precision and ability to manipulate objects. Rest assured, your therapy will be designed around your presentation and progression in therapy.

Communication with my Physician?

Because of the nature of certain injuries to the hand, wrist or elbow, your certified hand therapist will be in regular, close communication with your referring physician. Those that have had surgery to repair delicate hand structures require a higher level of expertise and teamwork among the entire clinical team in order to understand the procedure performed and expectations/timelines for recovery. “We take pride in our relationships with our referring physicians and surgeons. It improves communication and clinical outcome,” reports Chantell Unnerstall, certified hand therapist in Union, MO.

What if I haven’t had surgery and still an unable to do what I want to do?

A certified hand therapist will manage many non-operative conditions that affect the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL’s). Conditions such as osteoarthritis can result in pain, limited motion and the inability to perform day to day tasks. Therapy intervention may include pain-relieving modalities, splinting, joint protection techniques, exercise or motion activities, all specific to your needs and goals. Essentially, any condition negatively affecting your ability to use your hands and arms can be assessed and treated by a certified hand therapist.


To find a location or schedule your appointment, visit our location finder to find a certified hand therapist near you.