Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy with a Riverside physical therapist. Physical therapists are health care professionals educated in anatomy and physiology, the study of the mechanical and physical functions of the human body. Physical therapy is used to maximize use of your hand by rehabilitating injured joints and strengthening tendons, ligaments and supporting muscles in your hand, wrist and forearm.
Your treatment will begin with a thorough evaluation. You'll be asked questions about your overall health, lifestyle and activities. Your therapist will assess the current condition of your hand and wrist including your pain level, range of motion and strength.
Your Road to Recovery
Using all this information, you and your therapist will establish treatment goals and you'll be given a Road to Recovery customized treatment plan. For instance, your goals may include increasing the range of motion in your joint or to reduce pain. Your therapist and orthopaedic surgeon will stay in communication and coordinate your program and progress.
During appointments, you'll receive rehabilitation therapy. Early in your treatment, the focus will be on relieving your pain and stabilizing your hand and wrist joints. Then you'll work to strengthen the muscles, ligaments and tendons in your hand with a goal to restoring range of motion, flexibility and function.
Types of therapy
Exercises for the hand and an exercise program to follow on your own to increase dexterity, flexibility and strength
- Heat therapy
- Massage therapy
- Splint creation for prevention or corrections of injury
- Bandages to help control swelling
- Nerve stimulation
- Desensitization following a hand nerve injury or trauma
- Sensory re-education after nerve injury
- Training in the performance of daily life skills using adapted methods and equipment
A part of your physical therapy is educational. You'll learn how to avoid further injuries. You may learn to wrap your hand and wrist in protective bandages. In the case of arthritis, you'll be taught strategies for living with reduced mobility and exercises to keep your supporting muscles strong.