Hand Therapy Blog

Dive into all things hand therapy with our informative and useful blogs and videos. Learn about everything from treatment protocols to diagnoses to wound care and beyond. Plus, you’ll also find resources about the business of being a hand therapist. If you have a question you’d like us to cover, let us know!

Recent Blog Posts

Phantom Limb Pain, Residual Limb Pain, & Phantom Limb Sensation: Which is Which?

Written by Melissa Miller Introduction After amputation, the majority of individuals will experience phantom limb pain (PLP), residual limb pain (RLP), and/or phantom limb sensation (PLS). Experiencing these pains or ...

Outcomes of Rigid Night Splinting and Activity Modification in the Treatment of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Shah, C. M., Calfee, R. P., Gelberman, R. H., & Goldfarb, C. A. (2013). Outcomes of rigid night splinting and activity modification in the treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome. The ...

CMC Arthritis Orthosis in the Hand: Mechanics and Purpose

One of the most common diagnoses we see in hand therapy is osteoarthritis of the 1st carpo-metacarpal joint where the metacarpal articulates with the trapezium. Also known as basal joint ...

Early Mobilization After Volar Locking Plate Osteosynthesis of Distal Radius Fractures in Older Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

By: Rachel Reed Sørensen, T. J., Ohrt-Nissen, S., Ardensø, K. V., Laier, G. H., & Mallet, S. K. (2020). Early Mobilization After Volar Locking Plate Osteosynthesis of Distal Radial Fractures ...

A Hand Therapist’s Role in Nutrition Education for Wound Healing

By Brittany Day Nutrition and Wound Healing Nutrition plays an important function in the biological factors that contribute to normal wound healing. Patients without nutrient dense diets may experience diminished ...

A randomized clinical trial comparing early active motion programs: Earlier hand function, TAM, and orthotic satisfaction with a relative motion extension program for zones V and VI extensor tendon repairs

By Brittany Day Collocott SJ, Kelly E, Foster M, Myhr H, Wang A, Ellis RF. A randomized clinical trial comparing early active motion programs: Earlier hand function, TAM, and orthotic ...
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Phantom Limb Pain, Residual Limb Pain, & Phantom Limb Sensation: Which is Which?

Written by Melissa Miller Introduction After amputation, the majority of individuals will experience phantom limb pain (PLP), residual limb pain (RLP), and/or phantom limb sensation ...

Outcomes of Rigid Night Splinting and Activity Modification in the Treatment of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Shah, C. M., Calfee, R. P., Gelberman, R. H., & Goldfarb, C. A. (2013). Outcomes of rigid night splinting and activity modification in the treatment ...

CMC Arthritis Orthosis in the Hand: Mechanics and Purpose

One of the most common diagnoses we see in hand therapy is osteoarthritis of the 1st carpo-metacarpal joint where the metacarpal articulates with the trapezium. ...

Early Mobilization After Volar Locking Plate Osteosynthesis of Distal Radius Fractures in Older Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

By: Rachel Reed Sørensen, T. J., Ohrt-Nissen, S., Ardensø, K. V., Laier, G. H., & Mallet, S. K. (2020). Early Mobilization After Volar Locking Plate ...

A Hand Therapist’s Role in Nutrition Education for Wound Healing

By Brittany Day Nutrition and Wound Healing Nutrition plays an important function in the biological factors that contribute to normal wound healing. Patients without nutrient ...

A randomized clinical trial comparing early active motion programs: Earlier hand function, TAM, and orthotic satisfaction with a relative motion extension program for zones V and VI extensor tendon repairs

By Brittany Day Collocott SJ, Kelly E, Foster M, Myhr H, Wang A, Ellis RF. A randomized clinical trial comparing early active motion programs: Earlier ...

Hand Pain in Pregnancy and the New Parent

By: Rachel Reed The transition to parenting can be difficult on a mother or parent’s body, especially when considering the increase in repetitive hand use ...

A Prospective Randomized Trial Comparing the Functional Results of Buddy Taping Versus Closed Reduction and Cast Immobilization in Patients With Fifth Metacarpal Neck Fractures

By: Rachel Reed Martínez-Catalán, N., Pajares, S., Llanos, L., Mahillo, I., & Calvo, E. (2020). A Prospective Randomized Trial Comparing the Functional Results of Buddy ...

Creating an Action Plan for Addressing Mental Health in the Clinic

Blog By: Rachel Reed As hand therapists, our care for our patients must be driven by the goal of treating the whole person, not just ...

The effects of cupping therapy as a new approach in the physiotherapeutic management of carpal tunnel syndrome

Article Review By: Rachel Reed Mohammadi, S., Roostayi, M. M., Naimi, S. S., & Baghban, A. A. (2019). The effects of cupping therapy as a ...

Assessing and Improving Grip with the Squegg

Assessing and Improving Grip with the Squegg By: Megan Prather “Grip training is made fun” In hand therapy we are always looking for engaging new ...

Dorsal Wrist Pain?

Incorporating Emerging Evidence into Clinical Practice for Patients Experiencing Dorsal Wrist Pain During Weight-Bearing Activities By: Brittany Day Supporting Evidence A randomized control study recently ...

Differentiating Proximal Median Nerve Entrapment from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By: Brittany Day Proximal Median Nerve Entrapment, Pronator Syndrome, or Lacertus Syndrome?  Pronator syndrome is a term used to describe proximal median nerve entrapment (PMNE) ...

Use of Proprioception in Rotator Cuff Repair

Article Review By Brittany Day Upper Limb Active Joint Repositioning During a Multijoint Task in Participants with and without Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy and Effect of ...

Hand Therapy:Integra Dermal regeneration For Patients with Burns, Scars, or Wound Reconstruction

By: Taylor Volentine Date: 6/6/2020 Is it possible for shark and cow cartilage to improve the healing process for patients with burns, scars, or reconstruction ...

Ultrasound use for reducing pain: Does it work?

Ilter, L., Dilek, B., Batmaz, I., Ulu, M.A., Sariyildiz, M.A., Nas, K., & Cevik, R. (2015). Efficacy of pulsed and continuous therapeutic ultrasound in myofascial ...

Multiple Avenues of Pin Site Care in Hand Therapy

By: Megan Prather The prevalence of external fixation with pins in the upper extremity setting and the high rates of pin site infection make identifying ...

Pediatric & Adolescent Shoulder Instability

Lin, K.M, James, E.W., Spitze, E. & Fabricant, P.D. (2018). Pediatric and adolescent anterior shoulder instability: Clinical management of first-time dislocators. Current opinion in pediatrics, ...

Management of a TFCC Injury in Hand Therapy

By: Taylor Volentine The wrist is composed of very complex joints that assists with movement in individuals of all ages and abilities. For instance, an ...

Hand Therapy: Does Dry Needling work to Treat Trigger Finger

By: Taylor Volentine Reference:  Azizian, M., Bagheri, H., Olyaei, G., Shadmeher, A., Okhovatpour, M. A., Dehghan, P., Jalaei, S., Sarafraz, H. (2019). Effects of dry ...

Pediatric Hand Development as it relates to Hand Therapy

Pediatric Hand Development as it relates to Hand Therapy by Chelsea Gonzalez It is essential to have an understanding of the major milestones of grasp ...

Hand Therapy Interventions for Distal Upper Extremity Injuries and Conditions

Takata, S.C., Wade, E.T., & Roll, S.C. (2019). Hand therapy interventions, outcomes, and diagnoses evaluated over the last 10 years: A mapping review linking research ...

Hand Therapy: Conservative Management of Pediatric Monteggia Fractures

Conservative Management of Pediatric Monteggia Fractures Monteggia fractures in children comprise approximately 2% of pediatric elbow fractures and involve a fracture of the proximal ulna ...

Video-based rehab for shoulder injuries

Turkmen, E., Akbaba, Y., Altun, S. (2019). Effectiveness of video-based rehabilitation program on pain, functionality, and quality of life in the treatment of rotator cuff ...

Mechanism of Interneural Edema in Carpal and Cubital Tunnel

Mechanism of Interneural Edema Over the last few weeks I have been learning about ultrasonic imaging and carpal tunnel syndrome.  When reviewing carpal tunnel syndrome, ...

Splinting and Stretch Protocol for Pediatric Trigger Thumb

Tan, A. C., Lam, K. S., & Lee, E. H. (2002). The Treatment Outcome of Trigger Thumb in Children. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics B, 11(3), ...

Soft Tissue Healing in Pediatrics

By: Chelsea Gonzalez Why do pediatric clients often not require as much hand therapy for soft tissue injuries when compared to adults? The simple answer: ...

A New Type of Median Nerve Glide for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Meng S, Reissig L.F., Beikircher R, Tzou C. H., Grisold W, Weninger W.J. (2015). Longitudinal gliding of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel: Ultrasound ...

EDS and Hand Therapy

The Amazing Zebras—No Two Zebras Are Alike Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: A Unique Condition By: Brittany Carrie Zebras are a unique species in that they are a ...

Use of Compression Gloves for Distal Radius Fractures

Use of Compression Gloves for Distal Radius Fractures Miller-Shahabar, I., Schreuer, N., Katsevman, H., Bernfeld, B., Cons, A., Raisman, Y., & Milman, U. (2018). Efficacy ...

Covid-19: What is your clinic doing?

It’s what every patient is talking about when they come in? With the suspension of every major sport, international travel banned, and hospital quarantines, everyone ...

Sesamoid Bones: What are they and what do they do?

By Brittany Carrie A Student's Perspective During the first few weeks of my rotation, I was exposed to many new and exciting things that I ...

K-tape and Cerebral Palsy

Allah-Rastii, Z., Shamsoddini, A., Dalvand, H. and Labaf, S. (2017). The effect of kinesio taping on handgrip and active range of motion of hand in ...

A Student’s Guide to Pediatrics in Hand Therapy

By: Chelsea Gonzalez What do you do when a pediatric patient walks into your clinic? Aren’t kids just little adults? They'll just grow and be ...

Orthotic Intervention Incorporating Dart- Throwers Motion for Scapholunate Injury

Anderson, H. & Hoy, G. (2016). Orthotic intervention incorporating the dart-thrower’s motion as part of conservative management guidelines for treatment of scapholunate injury. Journal of ...

How much pain should a patient have during and after therapy?

How much pain should a patient have during and after therapy? As we all know pain is somewhat subjective.  It can be hard to determine ...

When should you use a Static Progressive Splint in Hand Therapy?

Flowers, K. (2002). A proposed decision hierarchy for splinting the stiff joint, with an emphasis on force application parameters. Journal of Hand Therapy, 15, 158–162. ...

A Fun Fact from a Hand Therapy Student

By: Ammie Ingwaldson Level 2 Fieldwork at a hand therapy clinic is a fast paced and continuous learning experience. The perfect example of this occurred ...

Carpal Tunnel Treatment: Splinting Only vs Splinting & Conservative Treatment

Short-term clinical outcome of orthosis alone vs combination of orthosis, nerve, and tendon gliding exercises and ultrasound therapy for treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Sim, ...

Graded Motor Imagery in Hand Therapy

The 3 Stages of Graded Motor Imagery  We’ve all heard of mirror box therapy, but do you know the details of how it works? There’s ...

Article Review: Best Edema Management Techniques in Hand Therapy

Miller, L. K., Jerosch-Herold, C., & Shepstone, L. (2017). Effectiveness of edema management techniques for subacute hand edema: a systematic review. Journal of Hand Therapy, 30(4), 432-446. ...

Wrist Proprioception Ideas for Hand Therapy

Wrist Proprioception Intervention Ideas: By Ammie Ingwaldson Lack of wrist proprioception can affect clients in the hand therapy setting with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. Proprioception ...

Extensor Tendon Repair Protocol (zone 4-7): Immediate Controlled Active Motion (ICAM)

Howell, J.W., Merritt, W. H., & Robinson, S. J. (2005). Immediate Controlled Active Motion Following Zone 4–7 Extensor Tendon Repair. Journal of hand therapy: 18, ...

TENS vs IFC: Electrical Stimulation for Pain and Swelling

Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) TENS variations are often described by their technical characteristics: high frequency, low intensity (conventional TENS) or low frequency, high intensity ...

Does Obesity or Smoking change the outcomes for Distal Radius Fractures

Hall, Matthew J., Ostergaard, P., Dowlatshahi, A., Harper, C., Earp, B. Rozental, T. (2019). The Impact of Obesity and Smoking on Outcomes After Volar Plate ...

Scar Management in Hand Therapy

Hand therapists may feel they are in a constant battle with scar tissue. It can limit ROM, cause pain, impede other structures, and leave a ...

A Better Test for De Quervain’s

J. F. Goubau, L. Goubau, A. Van Tongel, P. Van Hoonacker, D. Kerckhove, B. Berghs (2013).The wrist hyperflexion and abduction of the thumb (WHAT) test: ...

Top 5 Hand Therapy Toys for Kids

Many therapists in hand therapy clinics have a lot of tools for their adult patients, but may not have as many tools for the less ...

A Review on the Conservative Management of Trigger Finger

Lunsford, D., Valdes, K., & Hengy, S. (2017). Conservative management of trigger finger: A systematic review. Journal of Hand Therapy, 32(2), 212-221. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jht.2017.10.016 The Skinny The ...

6 of our Favorite Adaptive Equipment Tools for CMC Osteoarthritis

Individuals struggling with osteoarthritis of the 1st CMC joint usually have difficulty with daily activities and it can become very frustrating. Everyday tasks such as ...

Flexor tendon rehabilitation in the 21st century: A systematic review

Neiduski, R. L. & Powell, R. K. (2019). Flexor tendon rehabilitation in the 21st century: A systematic review. Journal of Hand Therapy, 32, 165-174. The ...

Conservative Management of Carpal Tunnel Symptoms: A Comparison of the effectiveness of orthosis wear, kinesiotaping and paraffin treatment.

Kaplan, B. M., Akyuz, G., Kokar, S., & Yagci, I. (2018). Comparison of the effectiveness of orthotic intervention, kinesiotaping, and paraffin treatments in patients with ...

Increasing Shoulder Range of Motion by improving Scapulohumeral Rhythm

Scapulohumeral rhythm is often the key component when treating shoulder conditions and the reason for the lack of total shoulder range of motion. This may ...

What is the Effectiveness of IASTM?

CitationKim, J., Sung, D. J., Lee, J. (2017). Therapeutic effectiveness of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization for soft tissue injury: Mechanisms and practical application. Journal of ...

5+ Common Mallet Finger Splints

Finger orthoses can be tough, and the mallet orthosis is no exception. The protocol for 15 degrees of DIP extension with mallet fingers is tricky ...

Conservative Therapy for OA in the Fingers: A Literature Review

Beasley, J., Ward, L., Knipper-Fisher, K., Hughes, K., Lunsford, D., & Leiras, C. (2018). Conservative therapeutic interventions for osteoarthritic finger joints: A systematic review. Journal ...

Thumbs up for treating thumb pain in the hand therapy clinic

Written by Tiffany Holstege What do “Mommy’s thumb,” “gamer’s thumb,” and “radial styloid tenosynovitis” have in common? They are all officially called de Quervain’s tenosynovitis De ...

Taking Alpha-Lipoic Acid for 40 days after Carpal Tunnel Surgery can decrease the likelihood of developing Pillar Pain.

Filippo, B., Granchi, D., Roatti, G., Merlini, L., Sabattini, T., & Baldini, N. (2017). Alpha-lipoic acid after median nerve decompression at the carpal tunnel: A ...

Hand Therapy Marketing 101

Marketing 101 - 5 Tips for Your Therapy Clinic Confession: I hate marketing. It’s my least favorite part of my job. It is so hard ...

THE SENSITIVITY AND SPECIFICITY OF ULTRASOUND FOR THE DIAGNOSIS OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: A META-ANALYSIS

Fowler, J. R., Gaughan J. P., & Ilyas, A.M. (2011).  The sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound for the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome: A meta-analysis.  ...

Do you know the secret ingredient to recovering from an injury?

Do you know the secret ingredient to recovering from an injury? I will give you a hint it is 5 letters and begins with the ...

Is HEP Just as Good as Therapy for Metacarpal Fracture Rehab?

Gülke, J., Leopold, B., Grözinger, D., Drews, B., Paschke, S., & Wachter, N. J. (2018). Postoperative treatment of metacarpal fractures—Classical physical therapy compared with a ...

Therapeutic Exercise vs Therapeutic Activity

What is the difference between therapeutic exercise versus therapeutic activity? Therapeutic exercise is billed as 97110 and Therapeutic activity is billed as 97530.  Both are ...

How to Use Translation for Improving Fine Motor Skills after a Hand Injury:

I’m always looking for new therapy ideas. I want to keep my patients interested and engaged in therapy. I also want to keep things functional ...

How to Strengthen the Intrinsics with Puttycise Tools:

I’m always looking for ways to strengthen the intrinsics.  It is easy to overlook the importance of these small but mighty muscles. They are very ...

Which is better: Splinting the MCP or PIP joint when managing Trigger Finger?

Teo, S. H., Ng D. C., Wong, Y.K.(2018).  Effectiveness of proximal interphalangeal joint blocking orthosis vs metacarpophalangeal joint blocking orthosis in trigger digit: A randomized ...

Scar Wars: Scar Management Techniques

Why do we have scars? Scar formation is a normal process in how our bodies respond to an injury or surgery.  It is basically our ...

Stretching Alone Can Change P1 Bone Shape in Patients with Camptodactyly

Woo Hong, S. Kim, J., Sang Kwon, O., Ho Lee, M., Sik Gong, H., Hyun Baek, G., (2019). Radiographic Remodeling of the Proximal Phalangeal Head ...

3 Common Reasons for Ulnar-Sided Wrist Pain and Non-Surgical Hand Therapy Treatment Options

1.) Arthritis Arthritis occurs when the bones on the ulnar side of the wrist are rubbing together.  An example of this is Ulnar Impaction Syndrome ...

Hand Therapy: How to Treat the Client with a New Distal Radius Fracture

The new eval can be scary. The client had open reduction and fixation of a distal radius fracture (DRF) and they are coming to see ...

What? I just received an order for suture removal…

How many of us have practiced suture removal in occupational or physical therapy school??  NOT I!! Often, hand surgeons will ask the therapist to remove ...

How To Do A Fast but Thorough Hand Therapy Evaluation

We don’t get a lot of time. Sometimes new patients come in unexpectedly or someone comes at the wrong time and your 1 hour block ...

How to Get Started in Hand Therapy

I started OT school knowing that I wanted to do pediatrics. I set up everything to build up my resume for my first therapy job ...

Trigger Finger… Quick and Dirty!

This is for you… Hand Therapists! Stenosing tenosynovitis, otherwise known as trigger finger, is a common condition affecting children and adults of all ages. Fast ...

Putting Occupation in Hand Therapy

It was early in my career, maybe a year out of school. I was working with a veteran physical therapist that had been practicing for ...

The 4 Stages of Simple Wound Care in Hand Therapy

Wound care is messy. It can be intimidating and scary. With so many variations of wounds and so many products out there it is hard ...
wound care hand therapy

7 Tips to Help your Patients Manage Hand Osteoarthritis

Our hands are one of the most intricate structures in the human body. They are composed of a network of tendons, ligament and nerves that ...