At FORM Hand Therapy, our therapists specialize in the rehabilitation of hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries and surgeries. For injuries that do not require surgery such as mild to moderate strains, sprains, and impingements, it is important to see an occupational or hand therapist. Sprains, strains and impingements usually occurs if there is excessive pressure on a structure or as a forceful impact to a structure causing overstretching or partial tears to tendons, ligaments or cartilage. Symptoms may include stiffness, pain, swelling, bruising, and/or loss of strength or stability at the affected structure.
Our hand therapists can fabricate a custom splint to protect the injured structure during healing, and initiate exercises when appropriate to prevent joint stiffness and regain hand or wrist function. Some of the hand and wrist injuries that are treated at FORM Hand Therapy include:
- Wrist sprain – injury to ligaments that stabilize the carpal bones of the wrist.
- Thumb sprain (Gamekeeper’s Thumb) – over extending the ligament at the inner side base of the thumb.
- Finger sprain – impact to a finger that causes injury to tendons of the finger.
- Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex injury/instability – injury to the complex of ligaments and cartilage that stabilize the bones at the wrist (carpal bones, ulna, and radius).
- Volar Plate injury (“jammed finger”)– hyperextension of a finger on the palm side of the middle phalanx causing injury to the tendon.
- Mallet Finger (Baseball Finger) – direct fingertip trauma can damage the tendon that extends the fingertip losing ability to straighten the finger at that joint.
The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the human body, and occupational therapy is the most important treatment for conditions like shoulder impingement and rotator cuff tears. Our occupational therapists not only understand the importance of regaining shoulder range-of-motion and strength, but treatment that is focused in specific skills you need for the demands of your everyday living and working. Our unique and comprehensive approach to therapy combines exercises, manual therapy techniques, physical agent modalities, electrotherapeutic modalities, task analysis, activity modifications, and education of proper shoulder mechanics to gain successful return to activity without further injury.
Shoulder Impingement occurs when the bone on top of the shoulder (acromion) puts excessive pressure on the rotator cuff tendons or bursa (cartilage) beneath it causing shoulder irritation and pain. The compression or “impingement” can be due to chronic and repetitive overhead movements, shoulder injury, arthritis, bone abnormalities, or adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder). This impingement can then further cause rotator cuff tendonitis and tears, and bursa inflammation and scarring.
- Shoulder pain with activity such as overhead arm movements, throwing, and side movement.
- Shoulder pain at rest.
- Pain that radiates from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm.
- Pain at night when attempting to sleep on the affected side.
- Limited range of motion due to weakness.
Physicians frequently recommend non-surgical treatment for shoulder impingement. Research has shown that patients who have actively participated in therapy as first line treatment for shoulder impingement are able to avoid surgery and have similar outcomes to those who had decompression surgery.
Our occupational therapists have advanced knowledge in the complex arrangement of structures of the shoulder joint, and the contribution of these structures to shoulder movement and stability. Our highly skilled therapists will manage your pain by identifying what movements cause pain and make modifications to activities to reduce impingement.
They may use therapeutic modalities such as iontophoresis or ultrasound to reduce pain. Depending on the level of your impingement, they will determine what range-of-motion and strengthening exercises to progress you through, and employ hands-on manual therapy techniques for proper shoulder movement to avoid impingement. Most importantly, they will educate you on proper shoulder mechanics to assist you in returning to pain-free function.
If you have had decompression surgery for shoulder impingement, therapeutic rehabilitation is absolutely necessary to regain range-of-motion and strength. Our therapists will collaborate with your surgeon to progress you through a rehabilitative program based on clinical criteria and time frames appropriate to you and your specific surgery.
If you have recently suffered an injury to your hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder, ask your doctor for a referral to FORM Hand Therapy. You can print a referral form for your doctor to fill out or contact our office for additional information at (510) 585-2535. If you are not currently under the care of a physician for your condition or would like to be evaluated by an Orthopaedic Surgeon specializing in hand, wrist and elbow conditions, schedule an appointment at FORM Hand, Wrist & Elbow Institute.