Certified Hand Therapy

What is a Certified Hand Therapist CHT?

A certified hand therapist is an occupational therapist who has advanced training in the treatment of conditions affecting the upper extremity (i.e. from the shoulder to the fingertips). These pathologies may result from trauma, repetitive use, congenital (from birth) or acquired deformity, or disease processes.  To utilize the CHT credential, a therapist must practice for a minimum of three years, accumulate at least 4,000 hours in the treatment of upper extremity disorders and pass a rigorous certification exam to demonstrate their competency in the practice of hand therapy.

To learn more about hand therapy, visit www.asht.org

What Can a Hand Therapist Do for Me? 

Hand therapists provide a wide variety of interventions to assist in managing various conditions of the arm and hand. Their objective is to facilitate successful recovery and allow individuals to function normally in their daily lives. Hand therapists provide non-operative interventions, preventative care, and post-surgical rehabilitation for both common and unique upper extremity disorders. This can range from simple carpal tunnel releases to complex replanted extremities and tendon or nerve transfers.

Who would benefit from seeing a Hand Therapist?

Patients with a very recent injury (such as fractures, tendon lacerations/ruptures, muscle or tendon inflammation), chronic conditions (such as arthritis or deformity) or neurologic conditions (such as a stroke or a nerve transfer) can benefit from hand therapy. A hand therapist employs various interventions including:

  • Neurological interventions to desensitize and normalize the nervous system
  • Individualized activity modification and exercise programs
  • Custom orthotic fabrication
  • Management of pain and swelling
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Use of modalities such iontophoresis, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, hot/cold pack
  • Specialized taping
  • Promote healthy work performance habits
  • Education on joint and tendon protection
  • Implementation of energy conservation strategies
  • Training on adaptive equipment or devices to improve function

Where can I find a Hand Therapist?

Sara Carlson, MS, OTR/L, CHT began practicing as an Occupational Therapist in February 2004. Most of her working career has been in the rehabilitation of the arm and hand. Sara took the hand therapy certification exam in May 2016 and passed the exam; earning the privilege to use the CHT credential.

Sara is also credentialed with Work Well to perform Functional Capacity Evaluations, Pre-Work Screens, and create Functional Job Descriptions. She also works with WorkSTEPS to complete pre-offer, post-offer, and post-employment screens.

Sara works at Select Therapy in Baxter. Please contact Select Therapy at (218) 824-5027 to schedule an appointment with her.

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