Why See A Hand Therapist?

What is Hand Therapy?

Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb, which includes the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle.  It is a merging of occupational and physical therapy theory and practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the structure of the upper limb with function and activity.  Using specialized skills in assessment, planning and treatment, hand therapists provide therapeutic interventions to prevent dysfunction, restore function and/or reverse the progression of pathology of the upper limb in order to enhance an individual’s ability to execute tasks and to participate fully in life situations.

— From the Hand Therapy Certification Commission revised definition and scope of practice, March 2009

What is a Certified Hand Therapist?

After obtaining a minimum of 3 years of clinical experience and 4,000 hours or more in the direct practice of hand therapy, a therapist may take the hand therapy certification examination.  The certification examination tests the knowledge of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper extremity rehabilitation.  After successfully passing the examination, the therapist may use the credentials of Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) which is a designation well-recognized by many healthcare professionals as a symbol of excellence and competency in the delivery of hand therapy services.


Why Choose a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT)?

A certified hand therapist is specialized in the evaluation and treatment of the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder including cumulative trauma and post-surgical conditions (but are not limited to):

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Lateral and medial elbow tendinopathy ("tennis elbow" or "golfer's elbow")
  • Trigger finger
  • Arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Tendon and nerve repairs
  • Amputations
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Adhesive capsulitis (“frozen shoulder”)
  • Rotator cuff repairs

Certified Hand Therapists may also perform services such as:

  • Custom static and dynamic orthosis fabrication
  • Wound care
  • Ergonomic/workstation evaluations
  • Wellness education
  • Injury prevention