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5 Reasons to See a Hand Therapist

“Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb, which includes the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle” – Journal of Hand Therapy, 2009

A hand therapist is a physical therapist or occupational therapist who, through advanced continuing education, clinical experience and integration of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology, has become proficient in treatment of pathological upper-quadrant conditions resulting from trauma, disease, or congenital or acquired deformity.

Southside Physical Therapy’s in-house hand specialist, Amy Houchens, PT., holds advanced credentials as both a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) as well as a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT). Each of these certifications requires years of additional clinical experience, thousands of hours of practice, successfully passing examinations of advanced clinical skills and theories, and the completion of mandated criteria to maintain these specialized credentials.

To put it simply: Amy knows hands!

Here are 5 reasons to schedule an appointment with her today:

Accurate Assessment of Injuries

Injuries to hands and upper extremities are particularly common. Fingers, wrists, hands, and elbows are all prone to overuse, accidental injuries, and the effects of neurological diseases and disorders. With Amy’s extensive knowledge and experience, she can accurately assess and treat a variety of conditions and dysfunctions to help you rehabilitate and return to normal activity.

Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs) know intimately how the muscles, tendons, and joints work together, and can evaluate dysfunction with a high degree of certainty. When called for, Amy will work in tandem with your other care providers to make sure you receive a careful diagnosis and assessment of your injuries.

Non-Invasive, Conservative Treatment Plans

Going under the knife can be stressful: anesthesia, longer recovery time, and a possibility that the procedure won’t work. Consulting a CHT will allow you to explore every possible avenue before going the surgical route. Amy can provide movement-based therapeutic solutions to give you a conservative, non-invasive treatment plan.

Pre and Post-Operative Treatment Plans

If surgery cannot be avoided, patients will still benefit greatly from Amy’s care both prior to and after the operation. Before surgery, she will provide care aimed to increase your range of motion and improve your surgical outcome. Seeing a CHT prior to surgery may help to prevent loss of motion and strength as well as teach you how to reduce stress on injured structures.

Amy also provides post-operative care, getting your hands and fingers moving to help prevent scar tissue from forming. With most injuries, guided return to movement and function will help you to reach maximum medical improvement and optimize your final outcome. Amy will devise individualized, science-based treatment plans specific to your needs and abilities.

Immediate, Frequent Care

CHTs can be much easier to get in to see for evaluation and treatment than some other care providers. Expedient care, diagnosis and treatment can improve your overall outcomes. We purposely leave availability in Amy’s schedule each week so new patients are able to get in with a minimal wait.

Frequent therapeutic treatment is key to improving and maintaining mobility, as well as, decreasing overall treatment time. If you have to wait weeks to begin receiving treatment, your muscles may begin to freeze up or scar tissue can develop, adding additional hurdles that need to be overcome before you can truly work on the source of your impairment. Working with Amy can help get you on the road to recovery more quickly.

Improved Functional Outcomes

Working with Amy means you get a treatment plan specialized for your injury and your abilities. You start by determining your baseline, then set manageable goals to attain. Amy will work with you every step of the way, changing up your treatment plan as necessary. By developing specific goals and knowing the markers on the road to get you to that goal, you are more likely to see success with your treatment than if you don’t have a plan.

Your hand or other upper extremity injury can cause a great deal of disruption to your everyday life. Amy can help you get better more quickly. Call our office today to schedule an appointment: (541) 388-2681.

Information obtained from the Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, The American Society of Hand Therapists, and Countryside Orthopaedics - Physical & Hand Therapy.


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