At OHSU Rehabilitation Services, you’ll find expert hand therapists who specialize in conditions of the hand, wrist and elbow. We offer you:
- Treatment for everything from simple fingertip injuries to recovery from complex reattachments of hands or fingers.
- Experts in custom splinting.
- Providers who make your goals their goals: We aim to get you back to the activities you care about.
Our certified hand therapists have at least 4,000 hours of experience treating hand, wrist and elbow conditions. They are trained in physical or occupational therapy, and passed a rigorous board exam. Our team includes experience on a national panel and teaching other therapists.
Because OHSU is a Level I trauma hospital, our therapists have extensive experience treating severe injuries of the arm and hand. They also have a detailed understanding of proper care after surgery.
What is a hand therapist?
A hand therapist is a physical or occupational therapist with additional training in the structure, function and mechanics of the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. Hand therapists use a variety of treatments to help patients:
- Reduce pain
- Return to daily activities
- Increase strength, flexibility and range of motion
What is hand therapy used for?
Hand therapy helps you improve or restore function after various injuries and disorders, including:
- Fractures of the elbow, wrist and hand
- Injuries, including strains, dislocations, cuts and overuse problems
- Nerve injuries and conditions such as pinched nerves (carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes) and palsies
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Recent or long-lasting nerve or other pain
- Scarring that limits movement (adhesions)
- Recovery from surgery, including wound care and managing scars and swelling
- Problems with veins, arteries, other blood vessels and tissues that circulate blood and infection-fighting lymph fluid through your body
Hand therapy treatments
We offer you a full array of therapies, including:
- Custom splinting: We design and make splints to promote recovery. They might reduce pain or muscle stiffness, or increase range of motion.
- Graston Technique: This massage therapy uses tools to break down scar tissue and repair soft tissue.
- Exercises: We can help increase strength, flexibility and endurance.
- Warm paraffin wax: Applying paraffin can reduce pain.
- Ultrasound: Targeted sound waves increase blood flow and reduce pain and inflammation. Ultrasound is often used before massage or exercise to make you more comfortable.
- Help adapting: We can recommend adaptive devices, such as jar openers or pens with larger grips. We can also help you modify work and home activities.
- Nerve care: We offer massage, vibration, electrical nerve stimulation and other techniques to reduce nerve sensitivity.
- Wound care
Our therapists work closely with hand surgeons, rheumatologists and your regular doctor. When needed, we also work with occupational and physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists. If you’re from outside the Portland area, we will help coordinate care in your community.