The definition of an amputation is “the action of surgically cutting off a limb,” however, an amputation can also happen by accident. Many times, an amputation of the hand, finger or arm is the result of a tragic accident, but amputations can also be planned surgeries to prevent the spread of a disease. Sometimes, fingers that were amputated in an accident can be reattached by a hand surgeon, but this isn’t always possible.
If you’ve suffered an injury, are recovering from surgery or are living with a condition that affects your hands, chances are you’ve seen a hand therapist or have received instructions to do so by your hand surgeon. Hand therapists are essential to helping patients recover from injuries or surgeries and can help those in pain get back to living a normal life. Hand therapists and hand surgeons often work closely together to determine the best outcome for their patients.
Raising children is rewarding. It is also a lot of work. Parents and caretakers don’t always pay attention to how they are using their hands or arms for everyday tasks involved in childcare. The focus of attention is most often on taking care of the child’s needs, not the proper way to lift or position their body. Repeating tasks in poor positions will result in overuse injuries. If you are a caretaker for a young child and are experiencing hand discomfort, here are some signs of overuse and what to do about it!
Sometimes we can do a great job taking care of ourselves during the day, but our sleep positions can undo all our hard work. Many of the problems that hand therapists treat, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, arthritis, or even tendonitis can be exacerbated by pressure while we are sleeping. This pressure can worsen symptoms like swelling, numbness, tingling, and pain.
How does this happen?
Sometimes the positions in which we sleep place our spine, joints, and soft tissues under compression, tension, or both. Our nerves are especially sensitive to this. For example, when we sleep in a “fetal position,” the nerves in our wrists and elbows can be compressed at the point where our arms and wrists bend. They can also be put under tension which can cause irritation and aggravate symptoms like numbness, tingling, and/or pain. Another example is when a pillow causes the neck to be bent in a position that can compress the nerves that travel from the spine into the arms and hands.
Hand arthritis can have a huge impact on performance of daily tasks. Activities like brushing your teeth or opening a jar can be painful and challenging. If you have pain and limitations due to hand arthritis, there are many products available to help improve hand function.
Today, you can order groceries online and have them delivered to your door. You can take a picture of your living room and a professional designer will decorate it without ever stepping foot in your home. Through the emerging development of telehealth, you can also virtually see a doctor for a common cold…AND…see a Certified Hand Therapist for common hand and arm conditions.
What is online hand therapy?
One of the trending topics of telehealth is the development of subspecialties such as telerehabilitation. Telerehabilitation is a modern form of speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy services delivered through a secure and private video conferencing platform. Online hand therapy is a form of telerehabilitation.
In the blog entitled “What is a Custom Orthosis?” basic information on custom orthoses was provided. But as hand therapists we can do so much more! In this blog, different types of custom orthoses and the reason your doctor and therapist may recommend one or another will be reviewed. In general, an orthosis is a device that is molded to and worn on a specific body part. The device can help to protect and support bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, and keep these structures in safe and healthy positions. An orthosis can also be used to help fix deformities or help people with limitations function better. Orthoses can be used to immobilize (keep the body part and tissue still), to mobilize (move the area) or to restrict partial movement in an area.
Do you have numbness, tingling, or pain in your arms? Does it disrupt your ability to work at your desk or keep you up at night? This could be caused by how you sit at your desk during the day. You may be putting excessive pressure on your nerves causing a nerve compression syndrome.