Imagine living in a reality where you are dependent on someone else to assist you with tasks you may not think twice about. Something as simple as putting on your jacket, playing your guitar, or even cooking dinner for you or your loved ones. All because you thought your injury or surgery would “just heal on its own.” I’m here to tell you why it’s so important to take the doctor’s recommendation and attend Hand Therapy to avoid having deficits in what you need to do or enjoy doing.
Any fracture and/or surgery, requires a specific protocol to ensure that it can heal correctly. In most cases, the people who know this protocol are both the doctor, and therapist. When a patient does not attend therapy according to the protocol, the fracture or surgery can heal poorly, therefore causing chronic stiffness, weakness, and pain. The therapist is there to ensure that the fracture, or surgery site, moves at a specific time and manner throughout the entirety of therapy. Without attending hand therapy, individuals may be unclear as to when it’s too early to move the site, or wait too long to begin moving, thus resulting in stiffness and pain.
Many patients don’t realize the benefits of therapeutic exercises such as pinching thera-putty at home or using clothes pins to pick up pieces of foam in therapy, which is of course understandable. However, treatments and tasks such as these often have a much more significant effect on improving a patient’s quality of life. For instance, using clothes pins to pick up pieces of foam using the thumb, index, and middle finger, simulates holding a key to open your door - something that individuals who have fractured their finger may have difficulty with for an extended period of time. Furthermore, recovering from a wrist fracture can be facilitated by squeezing thera-putty because of its ability to help a patient regain his or her grip strength, something that proves to be imperative even with something as trivial as slicing fruit or vegetables.
Strength as well as the amount of motion in your hand, elbow, or shoulder, is important in all aspects of your life. For instance, in your elbow ,range of motion is important to be able to reach behind your back in order to put your arm in your jacket sleeve. Additionally, having enough motion in your fingers plays a major part in the ability to hold a pen when signing a credit card slip.
At the start of their therapy journey, a common sentence that I hear my patients tell me is, “I never realized how much I needed to use my finger, until I wasn’t able to anymore.” The more I work with patients, the more I look forward to major milestones within their therapy journey such as when they say something like “I can finally put up my hair by myself!” or “I am able to put toothpaste on my toothbrush with my bad hand!” These milestones play a huge part in their own daily life and remains as one of the most rewarding experiences in my professional life to this day.
Attending Occupational Therapy assists in everything that you want to be able to do and need to be able to do. We provide you with the very basic tools you need, to be able to achieve your personal goals, that play a large role in your life.