Tag Archives: Certified Hand Therapy

What do YOUR hands say?

hand- talking

Our hands are an intricate marvel of the human body. With 27 bones in each hand and wrist it’s no surprise so much can go wrong for so many people.

We often think of injuries to athletes or common clumsy mishaps when a hand is injured. It’s not just athletes who come to us for problems with their hands and wrists. Every day, people of all backgrounds share challenges of pain in the hand or wrist. Think about the different occupations that might develop some form of hand/wrist pain and how it could affect their lives:

  • String musicians
  • Administrative workers using laptops
  • Cashiers using a laser scanner at check-out
  • Custodians
  • Homemakers
  • Gardeners/Landscapers
  • Mechanics & assembly workers
  • Accountants
  • Butchers
  • Food preppers

In reality, we are all at risk for hand or wrist issues at some point in our lives. One of the more common complaints we see at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a result of overuse and presents with a tingly feeling or numbness, typically a result of pressure on a nerve in the wrist. Tendinitis will appear with a weakness, discomfort, and/or limited movement. DeQuervain’s has the tendons swollen on the thumb side of the wrist. Trigger Finger presents on a finger that is difficult to bend or straighten and you may see a bump on the palm near the affected finger. You may have heard the condition Dupuytren’s, which a fibrous thickening of tissue causing a finger (or fingers) to curl up. Let’s not forget cysts and arthritis.  Oh my … so many things to go wrong!

hand-trigger   hand-arthritis         hand-cyst

Not all hand conditions require treatment, particularly if there is no associated pain or impairment to your daily activity. It’s always a good idea to be safe and see a physician if you have a specific concern. Ultimately, when you do need treatment, not to worry, we have you covered. Gregory Farino, MD is our hand and wrist physician treating hand/wrist disorders in conjunction with our Certified Hand Therapists at each of our three locations. Our commitment at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life!

IS MODERN TECHNOLGY CREATING NEW PHYSICAL AILMENTS?

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We are often warned about the dangers of driving and walking while texting. A while ago, we blogged about “Candy Crush Thumb”. These common activities have sent far too many people to their physicians and worse, emergency rooms. What’s next?

The newest ailments are plentiful: Selfie Hand, Text Claw, Selfie Elbow, and Text Thumb. Say what?

It is estimated that over the course of their lifetime, Millennials will have taken a staggering amount of over 25,000 selfies. Yes, you read that correctly … 25,000 per Millennial. That repetitive action develops physical challenges in the hand and wrist and it’s not from what you would think. The weight of the phone is not the issue; it’s the position of the hand, wrist, fingers, and even the elbow that compromise muscles, tendons, and ligaments. More commonly, this is referred to as “repetitive strain”.

Some may say that using a selfie stick avoids inflammation of the hand and wrist, however, this may cause other complications in the elbow, wrist, arm, shoulders, and neck from extending the arm frequently.

selfie-athlete

Most of us cannot imagine limiting our smart phone time or disconnecting so what’s the answer to avoiding a generation of these future ailments? Here are some suggestions however, as with any new activity, check first with your physician:

  • Use voice dictation when sending a text or email from your phone.
  • Do a “prayer stretch” by placing palms together under the chin and pulling hands down toward the waist keeping them close to the chest.
  • Push palms up above the chest and down toward your shoulders several times; using an 8 ounce water bottle or soup can may help strengthen muscles.
  • Icing the inflamed area may relieve discomfort.
  • Shoulder and wrist rolls may help your muscles from fatiguing.

If you do suffer from chronic pain in your hands, wrist, elbow, shoulder, or neck it may be time to see a physician who specializes in hand and wrist ailments. At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we have highly skilled upper extremity and hand/wrist Orthopedic Physicians, as well as experienced Occupational Therapists and Certified Hand Therapists, to help you alleviate your discomfort. Check out our website at www.SOA.md where you can make an appointment at any of our four locations directly via the home page, or give us a call at 941-951-2663. We offer same day appointments when necessary.

Our commitment is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life!

What’s So Special About PHYSICAL THERAPY?

 

pt-month

October is NATIONAL PHYSICAL THERAPY MONTH and it’s a time when we honor the special people on our PT team. Where do we begin?

First, let’s look at the definition of Physical Therapy: the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity using various methods of massage, manipulation, temperature, and/or exercise.

pt-hot-pack     hand-therapy-northern-beaches-sydney    pt-exercise    pt-elec-stim

Ok, well that’s sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Maybe not … let’s take a look at how long it takes to become a Physical Therapist. It’s a path of SEVEN YEARS minimum. Typically a bachelor degree is required with a concentration in biology, anatomy, kinesiology, or a similar study in the sciences. Then, after an impressive GPA achievement, a high GRE score, an interview process, and referral recommendations, the candidate is accepted into a physical therapy program of studies for three years. There are even specialties within the field; a few are geriatric, sports rehab, hand, industrial, aquatic (check out our aquatic therapy pool), and vestibular. By now, you probably understand it’s not a simple path to this career, although it’s a rewarding one.

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A Physical Therapist is an expert in the treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal disorders and pain relief. More important, they are educators in helping you understand your body and how to avoid injury after the healing process. Typically at a first appointment, your PT may perform a number of things including an assessment evaluation, discussion of your issue, take a medical history, check your ROM (range of motion), balance, and muscle strength. In therapy they may use modalities such as heat/ice, ultrasound, massage, electronic stimulation, and/or hands-on treatment. You’ll be given a series of exercises with instructions to perform at home that will help you heal and strengthen.

Pain Concept.

The number of visits needed will vary upon your condition. The most important and critical instruction to remember is that YOU are the key to YOUR  recovery. You play an important role in this process. Compliance with your home exercises and following the number of recommended visits to your Physical Therapy appointments will benefit your healing and speed your recovery.

So now you know why we love our Physical Therapy staff. We are grateful to them for all they do to keep us healthy and strong!  The commitment of Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.  For more information or an appointment, go to our website at www.SOA.md or call us at 941-951-2663.  We have four convenient locations and offer same day appointments when needed.

MAY IS NATIONAL ARTHRITIS MONTH: Getting the Upper Hand on Arthritis

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According to the Arthritis Foundation, 46 million Americans live with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms. Arthritis symptoms limit everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, and cooking for more than 7 million Americans. Half of those Americans with arthritis aren’t aware of options now available to help alleviate their symptoms.

The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition in which the joint cartilage deteriorates resulting in pain and loss of movement when bone begins rubbing against bone. Your hands are constantly on the go. Everyday activities such as preparing a meal, woodworking, carrying grocery bags, or using your computer may damage your joints over time. Fortunately, joint protection techniques may help reduce pain, stress, and inflammation. These techniques may also help prevent further deformities and increase your independence in daily activities. There are many easy and inexpensive ways to protect your hands.

Here are a few tips to keep your hands healthy:

 Give your Hands a Break

  • If you have pain during an activity, stop the activity. Pain is one of the best ways your body has of letting you know you are causing tissue damage, so listen to and respect your pain.
  • If writing is painful, try using a thick, rubber grip pen with a gel tip or roller ball to decrease the amount of pressure.
  • Remember to stretch and take breaks every 15 minutes during repetitive or prolonged activities such as needlework, painting, sewing, knitting and crocheting, hammering, and filing.
  • Use enlarged grips on every day equipment or tools to reduce strain on your joints; e.g. potato peelers, gardening tools, tooth brushes, hair brushes, or build up the handles with foam.
  • Keep scissors and knives sharp to minimize effort.
  • Always use two hands when lifting heavy objects. A gallon of milk weighs about 8 pounds, and lifting it with only your fingertips places excessive stress on your joints.

Don’t Use your Hand as a Tool

  • Don’t tear your mail open – use a letter opener to open mail.
  • Use utility scissors in the kitchen – do not rip open bags.
  • Always use the right tool for the job – use pliers for tight pinching and a small hammer for pounding.
  • Use a staple remover instead of your fingers and thumb.

Use Adaptive Equipment to Decrease Stress on your Joints

  • Use foam to enlarge small diameter objects such as paring knives, cutlery, toothbrushes, paint brushes, pens, and pencils.
  • Purchase lightweight kitchen, gardening, and workshop tools with built-up handles.
  • Perform a search on the Internet for “adaptive equipment” to see what products are available.

When Symptoms Become Severe

If you have already tried these techniques but are still experiencing symptoms, it might be time to consider a consult with an orthopedic specialist.  Gregory Farino, MD, a Board Certified/Fellowship Trained hand and wrist specialist at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, can help you with providing an accurate diagnosis as well as treatment options.

Farino pic

In the initial stages of arthritis, conservative management provided by a hand therapist may be all you need. Hand therapists can fabricate splints to support and protect the joints, recommend home exercises to improve strength in the small muscles of the hand, and educate you on pain management techniques.

If the arthritic process or your pain and stiffness is more severe, treatments like oral and topical medications or a cortisone shot may help relieve pain and improve mobility and strength. If conservative measures are not successful, surgery may be recommended. Joint replacement or joint fusion surgery has been consistently successful for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The hand and wrist team at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is here to help you manage hand arthritis and stay as active as possible. We have four locations (Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton) and offer same day appointments when necessary. Call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment or visit our website at www.SOA.md for more information.

Note: Article written by Gregory Farino, MD, a Fellowship Trained and Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with a specialty in hand and wrist and Sangeetha Bulusu, OT, CHT, CLT (Occupational Therapist, Certified Hand Therapist, Certified Lymphedema Therapist). Both are available to see patients at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates.

WHEN A HAND NEEDS A HAND

Hand-Therapy-Northern-Beaches-Sydney

Many people are unaware that there are specialties within physical therapy treatment.  One of those specialties is Hand Therapy which requires an extensive amount of additional training and certification examination. A candidate must have a minimum of five years as an Occupational or Physical Therapist and accumulate at least 4,000 hours of hand and upper extremity experience.

So what, exactly, do Hand Therapists do? Hand Therapists, in coordination with an orthopedic physician, provide therapy for the hand, wrist, arm, elbow, and shoulder. They manage conditions such as tendon injuries, crush injuries, amputations, and nerve compression to name a few.

At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we are so proud to offer hand therapy at all three of our locations.  Vivian Robinson, OT/CHT is an Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist with 27 years of experience. Sangeetha Bulusu, OT/CHT/CLT is and Occupational Therapist, Certified Hand Therapist, and Certified Lymphedema Therapist with 22 years of experience. Maggie Hilton, OT is an Occupational Therapist with 17 years of experience. These highly skilled women provide therapy under the direction of our SOA physicians, particularly Dr Michael Gordon, a general and pediatric orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in upper extremities, and, Dr Gregory Farino, a general orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in hand and wrist.

This week is HAND THERAPISTS week and we are so proud to highlight our fine team of skilled therapists and physicians who work in tandem for your optimal results. Check out this link on our web page to learn about hand, wrist, and upper extremity treatment.