Hand Therapy

Hand Physical Therapy at Crest

A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) specifically treats the upper extremity, including the arm, hand, wrist, shoulder, elbow, and forearm. During every visit, your CHT will:

  • Measure your range of motion
  • Test your strength
  • Evaluate your posture
  • Analyze your nerve sensation
  • Prescribe and monitor hand physical therapy exercises

If needed, your CHT can provide a custom orthotic created specifically for your physical therapy rehabilitation.

Treatment techniques may include:

  • Soft tissue mobilization. Rhythmic stretching and deep pressure are applied to the hand musculature. It breaks up scar tissue from an injury, moves tissue fluids, and relaxes muscle tension.
  • Joint mobilization. Passively moving a stiff joint to increase range of motion. It is usually applied within the comfort range of the patient; however, it can be uncomfortable if reaching the endpoint of range of motion is required.
  • Scar management. Employed to improve the appearance of a scar after hand surgery. Pressure therapy, massage therapy, or dressing therapy may be utilized.
  • Range of motion and strengthening exercises. Designed to restore normal hand range of motion and strength lost because of injury or surgical trauma.
  • Dexterity training. Improves hand fine motor skills that are crucial to effectively performing daily activities.
  • Taping. Therapeutically applied to aid mobility and function.
  • Whirlpools. Utilize the properties of water to relieve pain and promote healing.
  • Custom orthotics. Help immobilize, mobilize, or restrict movement.


The upper extremity is responsible for the movements needed to grip, grab, hold, and throw objects. Common causes of hand, wrist, and elbow pain include:

  • Carpal tunnel. A pinched and inflamed nerve in the wrist. The most common symptom is numbness and tingling in the thumb, index, middle, and inner aspect of the ring finger.
  • Tennis elbow. Inflamed tendons on the outer elbow. Caused by repetitive wrist and arm movements.
  • Golfer’s elbow. Inflamed tendons on the inner elbow. Caused by excessive and repetitive stress, including forceful hammering and swinging movements.
  • Trigger finger. An irritated and inflamed tendon in the finger. Common symptoms include stiffness, tenderness, clicking, and popping.
  • Dislocations. A joint is forced out of position. Upper extremity joints are the most commonly dislocated. Common causes include contact sports and falls.
  • Sprain. Stretching or tearing of ligaments. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and stiffness.
  • Fracture. A broken bone. Common causes include trauma and overuse. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and immobility.
  • Arthritis. Joint irritation and inflammation. Symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.
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