Top 6 Reasons To See a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT)

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. Traditional physical and occupational therapists certainly can help patients achieve functional results through therapy, but using a trained, experienced certified hand therapist (CHT) has many benefits for patients’ rehabilitation and return to normal activities:

Accurate Assessment of Injuries

CHTs are physical or occupational therapists who have completed at least three years of experience and 4,000 hours specifically working with hands and upper extremities. They have seen and worked with a myriad of injuries and reasons for loss of function in hands.

Seeing a CHT means you get someone who is knowledgeable about hands, wrists, elbows and fingers. They know intimately how the muscles, tendons, and bones work together, and can evaluate dysfunction with a high degree of certainty. Because CHTs also are part of a larger orthopedic care team, they work in tandem with all 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. There’s anesthesia, more recovery time, and the possibility that the procedure won’t work. If you want to explore every possible avenue before going the surgical route, then a CHT’s care is just what you need.

CHTs provide movement-based therapeutic solutions. They cannot and do not perform any surgical procedures. Many people looking for the most conservative, least-invasive treatment plan possible will find great success with a CHT.

Pre and Post-Operative Treatment Plans

If surgery can’t be avoided, a CHT’s care still can benefit you greatly. CHTs provide care prior to surgery, helping increase your range of motion and improve your surgical outcome. By regularly seeing a CHT prior to surgery, your muscles may be more limber, making the surgeon’s job easier.

CHTs also provide post-operative care, getting your hands and fingers moving to help prevent scar tissue from forming. The more you move most injuries post-surgery, the quicker you will reach maximum medical improvement and the better your outcomes are likely to be. CHTs 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.

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 a CHT can help you avoid this nightmare scenario and get you on the road to recovery more quickly.

Decreased Treatment Costs

CHTs are classified with non-specialized physical and occupational therapists. Many insurance plans allow an annual course of treatment for therapies, often 20 visits or more annually without pre-approval. These built-in allowances for courses of treatment, when paired with often, lower copays, allow you to receive longer-term care at a lower cost.

Improved Functional Outcomes

Working with a CHT means you get a treatment plan specialized for your specific injury and your abilities. You start by determining your baseline, then set manageable goals to attain. The CHT is working with you, changing up your treatment plan as necessary, every step of the way.

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 didn’t have a plan. Working with a CHT isn’t always easy, as it is his or her job to push you and test your limits, but your CHT always has your improvement and best interests in mind. This stretching of your limits helps you reach those treatment goals faster, allowing you to more quickly return to work or your normal daily activities.

Your hand or other upper extremity injury can cause a great deal of disruption to your everyday life. But working with a CHT can help you get better faster. See our skilled CHT and the entire team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists to get on the road to recovery today.

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