THERAPY FOR ARTHRITIS
of the hand and wrist is a common joint disorder that causes pain, joint
swelling and decreased range of motion and ability to perform daily tasks.
There are two classifications of osteoarthritis, primary and secondary.
Primary osteoarthritis onset is generally insidious with no definable cause.
Secondary osteoarthritis is often related to an anatomic problem such as an
injury or inflammatory disorder. The disease is marked by the wearing down of
the cartilage in the joint. As the disease progresses, the cartilage is
reduced and eventually the bone rubs on bone.
Therapy can play an integral part in the treatment for people with arthritis.
Members of the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) are either Occupational
or Physical Therapists with specialized training in the treatment of the hand
and upper extremities. Many carry the advanced certification credential of
CHT (Certified Hand Therapist).
medications play an important role in the management of symptoms, many
patients are concerned by the loss of some their “tried and true” arthritis
medications which have been pulled off the market in the wake of health
safety concerns. Hand Therapy is a valuable adjunctive treatment to provide
long term benefit for a more functional and less painful daily life.
of hand therapy treatments may include:
Reduction of pain, deformity, disability and joint instability
Increased range of motion and function
Increased strength and endurance
Therapists may use different approaches to the problems caused by arthritis,
Fabrication or providing new equipment and teaching techniques to make
activities of daily living easier and less painful.
Fabrication of custom orthoses to stabilize and/or
Development of a customized home exercise program
Stretches to keep soft tissues more loose and flexible
Exercises to increase muscle function for endurance and strength
Modalities such as paraffin, whirlpool, moist heat and cold laser therapy to
Instruction in joint protection, energy conservation and work simplification
to protect and reduce external stresses on joints
physician referral to a Certified Hand Therapist offers patients another
option to help them deal the problems associated with arthritis. If you have
any questions about osteoarthritis and hand therapy you can call Hand &
Upper Extremity Rehab Specialists at 724-942-5410.