April is National Occupational Therapy Month and here at Texas Orthopedics, we are fortunate to have three occupational therapists (OTs) on our team specializing in hand therapy across multiple locations. If you see a physician for a hand or upper extremity injury, there may be a chance you will be referred to one of our occupational therapists for follow up care. One of our occupational therapists, Meredith Leva, OT, CHT, helped us answer the most frequently asked questions that she gets when seeing new patients.
Why am I being referred to an occupational therapist instead of a physical therapist?
Our team of occupational therapists support our doctors and patients by giving them a more focused approach to therapy. Our three OTs specialize in injuries to the upper extremity including but not limited to: finger joint dislocations, elbow and wrist fractures, hand tendon lacerations, shoulder impingement syndrome, rotator cuff repairs and more. Conversely, the physical therapists at Texas Orthopedics treat injuries and offer post-surgery rehabilitation for all other parts of the body except the elbow, wrist and hand. Both physical therapists and occupational therapists have the skills and experience to treat shoulder injuries.
What is a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT)?
A Certified Hand Therapist is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who has a minimum of three years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, the Certified Hand Therapist has successfully passed a comprehensive exam of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation. Because of changes in the profession, every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years. We currently have one Certified Hand Therapist at Texas Orthopedics seeing patients at our Quarry Lake location and our other hand therapists have years of experience and are working towards becoming CHTs. FUN FACT: Currently, there are only 6,967 CHTs worldwide!
My therapy order says I need a splint. Do I need to buy one or will I get one from the hand therapist?
If you physician has referred you to a hand therapist for a splint, your hand therapist will most likely make you a custom, removable splint or brace and will teach you how to put it on and take it off. They will also instruct you on when you need to wear it. Hand therapists have specialty training in making custom splints for the hand, wrist, and elbow.
Texas Orthopedics is proud to offer comprehensive musculoskeletal care throughout Central Texas to get you moving and back to doing the activities you enjoy.