Hand Therapy is a specialized form of rehabilitation that focuses on injuries and other conditions related to the hand and upper extremity (to include the elbow and shoulder). Hand therapists have advanced training and clinical experience to offer a range of treatments and interventions to help patients regain functional use of their injured upper extremity. Riverside offers a hand therapy department with specially trained certified hand therapists.

Frequently Asked Questions:

A certified hand therapist (CHT) can be an occupational therapist or physical therapist who specializes in treating upper extremity conditions. Certified hand therapists must pass a national board exam, have a minimum of 3 years experience as a therapist, and participated in at least 4,000 documented hours of upper extremity care. CHTs are well respected by hand surgeons and considered a significant part of a patient’s outcome following a hand surgery.

Hand therapists can provide skilled services for a variety of injuries and conditions. For conditions such as sprains, strains, arthritis and other chronic or non-operative conditions, hand therapists can provide knowledge and treatment on how to decrease pain and improve function.

We can also treat post-operative patients- providing wound care, creating custom splints, and instruction on exercises that are appropriate for your phase of recovery.

Patients who have sustained an injury that has resulted in wounds, scars, burns, injured nerves or tendons, fractures, or even amputation can benefit from skilled hand therapy services.

Your first visit with the therapist will be an hour long evaluation. The therapist with evaluate your condition by discussing your current symptoms, reviewing your past medical and surgical history, and performing diagnosis specific testing measures. Traditionally, during this first session you are provided with a home exercise program to start working on at home until your next visit.

Each subsequent therapy visit is typically 30 minutes. During these visits, the therapist will provide a variety of treatments from pain management techniques (ice, heat, manual massage/manipulation, and other modalities), therapeutic exercise, fine motor activities, and other therapeutic interventions that will help to work on your hand function.

The goal during these sessions is to improve your motion, decrease your pain, and improve your overall hand function. Pain is not the goal, although there may be some pain at times. Please keep your therapist in the loop regarding your pain during your sessions.

Your first visit with the therapist will be an hour long evaluation. The therapist with evaluate your condition by discussing your current symptoms, reviewing your Often times, therapy is initiated 3-5 days post-surgery or following initial physician assessment. Hand therapists are trained in wound care, and often will be the first ones to remove your post-operative dressings. The hand therapist will perform any needed wound care, and provide you with a custom brace to protect and immobilize your hand, if recommended by the surgeon. Our therapy team has close communication with the surgical team and is able to discuss your care and any concerns in a timely manner. 

Yes! Certified hand therapists have clinical expertise and experience that set them apart from a typical physical or occupational therapist. The CHT is often very closely linked with the surgeon, and are experts in post-operative protocols for hand specific conditions and surgeries.


Our Team

Kegan Murphy, OT, CHT 

Kegan Murphy, OT, CHT

Certified Hand Therapist

Riverside Physical Therapy - Hampton 

Rachel Brady, OT, CHT 

Rachel Brady, OT, CHT

Certified Hand Therapist

Riverside Physical Therapy - Williamsburg