Hands are very important tools in our daily lives. We use them to dress, do housework, put food in our mouths, work to earn a crust, use them as part of our body language to express our emotions. However, when we have pain, stiffness, swelling and an altered appearance, our lives can become very challenging.
Arthritis is a term to describe over 100 forms of a condition where a person may experience symptoms including:
– Damage to the joint cartilage (tissue that covers the ends of bones)
These symptoms can result in deformity of the joints, joint weakness, joint instability and weakness of the surrounding tissues such as ligaments and tendons. So, enough of the doom and gloom.
Hand Physiotherapy Can Help You
A Hand Physiotherapist will be able to assess your hand function, including the range, stability and quality of your joint movement, the strength and length of all of the muscles in your hand and has the ability to order and view your x-ray when they are appropriate.
From here, your Hand Physiotherapist will be able to determine your key problems and discuss a tailored management plan with you.
Moderate Your Activities
Quite often, joints of the hand and wrist are overused with repetitive movement and become highly inflamed and very painful. Your Hand Physiotherapist can advise you of how to moderate your activities, so you can use your hands without experiencing these flare ups.
A Resting Splint
Sometimes, a joint may need a rest. A resting splint may be custom made to enable the joint to be protected from excessive movements if it is unstable, or rested if it is very inflamed and painful. Splints are a great way of managing your symptoms and protecting your joints.
You may also require exercises for strengthening weak muscles of the hand and wrist, or you may require hands on treatment and exercises to optimise the movement of your joints. All of these factors will be thoroughly addressed by your Hand Physiotherapist during your consultation.
Finally, the word “management” is the key, when addressing arthritis. We can’t reverse the arthritic changes that have already occurred, but a Hand Physiotherapist is able to help you to slow down and further prevent joint destruction, reduce your pain, improve your strength and joint movement by providing you with a tailored hands on treatment program, home management program and information during your journey.
If you are experiencing pain or issues with your hands, it might be time to visit a Hand Physiotherapist who offers hand therapy.
Written by Sophie Halsall-McLennan, Fresh Start Physiotherapy
About The Author
Sophie Halsall-McLennan is the owner of Fresh Start Physiotherapy and has a special interest in Hand Therapy and Shoulder Rehabilitation. She has a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from Charles Sturt University, over 13 years of clinical experience as a Physiotherapist and is registered with AHPRA. She is also a lecturer at Deakin University.