Occupational Therapy


Our Occupational Therapist works with you to help you achieve a fulfilled life, through, the use of activity designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, prevent injury and improve and restore your level of independence.  Occupational Therapy is about helping you to do the day-to-day tasks.  The hand and wrist work together to allow you to perform activities of daily living, as well as participating in athletic and artistic endeavors. Working with your hands is not only functionally important, but can enhance your life. The goal of hand surgery is to treat pathology caused by overuse trauma, inflammatory or degenerative processes. Restoration of function and resolution of symptoms, such as pain, are critical goals of our discipline. Most conditions are amenable to initial non-operative management. Below is a list of a  select hand pathologies and treatments including basic information regarding each condition.

Normal Hand Anatomy - The hand is an intricate instrument that is both tough and delicate. Its functions of sensations and motion allow us to experience and control the world around us.

Trigger Finger - The tendons of the thumb and each of the fingers pass through a sheath on the palm side of the hand. Certain diseases and overuse activities can cause a thickening of this sheath. As the tendon passes through a thickened sheath, the tendon eventually becomes irritated and swells. Pain, catching and eventually locking of the finger will occur. Symptoms usually starts with mild discomfort and tenderness at the base of the fingers and thumb. The affected digit will be painful to bend or straighten and will often pop when flexing.  Causes are not always clear and can be caused by repetitive use. Some cases can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, gout and diabetes. Early treatment can be as simple as warm or cold packs, anti-inflammatory meds, and splinting to reduce the repetitive motion of the affected finger. Resting the tendon is the important thing and then strengthening  it.

Dupuytren’s Contracture - This disorder is a thickening of a ligament in the palm, resulting in nodules on the ligament which, if severe enough, can cause an inability to fully straighten the fingers. The ring and small fingers are the fingers most commonly involved. is a condition that causes the tissue just beneath the skin of the palm to tighten, drawing the fingers.  Dupuytren's contracture into the palm. Symptoms you may feel the tissue beneath your palm start to thicken and over time will cause lumps that develop in your palm and extend into your fingers making it difficult to open your hand. The tightness and bent fingers develops slowly over time, taking months or even years to develop. Treatment Options Hand therapy can help in the post-operative care and management. Elizabeth can fabricate a splint to help keep your fingers extended and develop a home exercise program to help you to regain your strength and aid in regaining the use of your hand.

DeQuervains Tenosynovitis - Tendonitis on the thumb side of the wrist can be a very painful and disabling condition. Simple pinching and twisting activities can be almost impossible. The tendons to the thumb become inflamed as they pass under a ligament and the slightest motion of the wrist can cause pain. Symptoms localized pain, swelling, and tenderness on the thumb side of the wrist. Gripping and pinching becomes painful. Causes excessive repetitive use, stress and pressure on the affected area. Repeated gripping and pinching which results in inflammation and pain. Previous wrist injuries including fractures and rheumatoid arthritis can also be associated. Treatment Options reducing repetitive motions with your thumb. Elizabeth may design a splint for you to wear at night and help you with self-care exercises.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - is a common hand problem resulting from pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. Symptoms, which are often worse at night, consist of numbness and pain in the wrist and fingers. Eventually there is loss of strength, fine motor control and sensation. Early treatment consists of splinting. Symptoms pain, numbness and tingling in the fingers, hand and arms and are felt during the night and daily activities like driving or anything that causes a weakened grip or a tendency to drop things. Causes pressure on the nerve in the wrist, swelling, dislocations, fractures, arthritis, and keeping your elbow bent for long periods of time causing the nerve to be pinched. Treatment Options changing the hand use patterns that cause inflammation and wearing wrist splints.

Myofascial Release - is a form of soft tissue Therapy. Fascia is a structure of connective tissue that surrounds groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. It binds some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other. Fascia can become tight or restricted which can cause your pain and limit your motion. Once these limitations are released, you can experience ease and freedom of motion, comfort at rest, and relaxation.

The role of our Occupational Therapist in Orthopedics is to assist you and help you to overcome some of the limitations due to your condition or injury. By helping you to work and live independently, as well as helping you to improve your well-being. The Therapist will assess your abilities and lifestyle prior to your surgery or illness, as well as your expectations of your lifestyle post-surgery. Our Therapist will consult with you and the Orthopedic surgeon in charge of the surgery to develop a program that will best suit your expectations. After major orthopedic surgery it is imperative that your able to become independent and able to manage your lifestyle choices.

Orthopedic Hand and Elbow for Arthritis, Carpel Tunnel, Fractures, Tendon Repairs, Contractures, Splinting, Orthotics for hands, fingers, wrist and elbow, Stroke Rehab, Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injury, Brain Injury, Parkinson's

Simple Wound Care: cleaning of wounds, monitoring and bandaging. Does not include debridement, staples or stitch removal.

Other services to include: Fluido-Therapy, Paraffin, Cold Laser, Ultrasound, Electrical Stimulation, Traction, Manual Therapy is used for a variety of conditions. IASTM (Instrumented Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization), MPS (Microcurrent Point Stimulation), ETPS (Needleless Acupuncture), Myofascial Release, Scar Management to reduce adhesions and improve movement.

Our occupational therapist is a specialist who can help you with your arthritis and to help you to maximize your ability to participate in activities safely and enhance your quality of life. The sooner you start working with an occupational therapist, the more you can benefit. Right after your arthritis diagnosis is a good time to see an occupational therapist, your primary care physician can refer you. Our OT wants to know about your everyday activities such as school, homemaking, work, things like laundry or anything that might become challenging, no matter how large or small. Then she will make an appropriate plan to address all those issues. Her goal is to teach you self-management skills. The plan could include a custom-fitting for splints or supports that can ease stress on painful joints and help prevent deformity. Elizabeth can teach you how to protect your joints by performing tasks in different ways than you may be used to, such as using both hands or using an assistive device.

People with arthritis really benefit from assistive devices because they help them to do more tasks with less pain, we also focus on a home exercise program that will help increase your range of motion, flexibility and strength. Her overall goal is to improve your  strength so that you can do certain functional activities, like turning doorknobs and everyday activities. Arthritis is a chronic disease, so it will continue and change over time. Occupational therapy is always a good option for learning how to overcome some of life’s challenges when you have arthritis. Occupational Therapy is vital to your recovery and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries or conditions where proper movement has been affected. We work close with your Orthopedic surgeon to achieve your treatment goals. Our Occupational Therapist is responsible for providing ongoing rehabilitation and care to you. By assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating the management of your injury or condition. Our Occupational Therapist Elizabeth aims to improve the balance and function of your musculoskeletal system. There are stages to the rehabilitation according to your injury or condition, and it is often seen as the second stage of the recovery process. This type of rehabilitation will generally follow Orthopedic surgery. Rehabilitation becomes something that must be co-manage with close monitoring and guidance by our Occupational Therapist. During this stage you are encouraged to learn new skills, begin to  re-build physical strength as well as your mental stamina.

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(828) 837-0400