Hand Therapy

What is hand therapy?

Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb, not just the hand. It involves evaluating and assessing the injured limb, from which a specific and individualised treatment program can be designed. A variety of specialised treatment techniques are used to achieve these goals.

Hand therapy is a speciality that came about from the need of hand surgeons to have their patients treated by therapists who understood the anatomy of the arm as well as they did. It is with this level of specific knowledge that hand therapists can help people with hand injuries regain their lost hand function.

What is a hand therapist?

Hand therapists are qualified occupational therapists or physiotherapists who have become skilled in treating upper limb injuries and conditions through advanced continued education, training and clinical experience. Hand therapists integrate anatomy, physiology and kinesiology and use techniques from both traditional occupational therapy and physiotherapy disciplines to provide comprehensive care for the upper limb.

Who will benefit from hand therapy?

Any person who has a problem with any part of their upper limb may benefit from hand therapy.

Common Hand, Wrist and Arm Conditions that our therapist sees:

  • Fractures of the Hand, Forearm, Elbow and Humerus
  • Trauma – Crush Injuries, Amputations, Tendon Lacerations and Repairs, and Complex Surgical Reconstructions
  • Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow
  • De Quervain’s Syndrome
  • Nerve Injuries and Compressions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Arthritis including Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Trigger Finger
  • Dupuytren’s Disease
  • Joint Instabilities
  • Wrist Pain
  • Finger Dislocations and Sporting Injuries
  • Stiffness and Lack of Strength
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Scar Tissue including Skin Graft and Flap Management from a Burn

What treatment techniques may be used in hand therapy?


A variety of techniques and tools may be used in hand therapy including:

  • Customised thermoplastic splinting
  • Cast application and removal
  • Wound care including dressing changes and removal of sutures
  • Oedema management – reduction of swelling
  • Scar management
  • Exercise and strengthening prescription
  • Desensitisation and sensory retraining
  • Education and self management strategies
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Ergonomic advice
  • Pain management

What are the advantages of seeing a hand therapist?

Hand therapy may involve multiple specialised therapeutic interventions including customised splinting, wound care, and/or an individualised home exercise program, making it a ‘one stop shop’ and streamlined process for patients. Hand therapists have a thorough understanding of your upper limb injury or condition and utilise accurate assessments and effective treatment to reduce your overall treatment time.

Our occupational therapist is a full member of the Australian Hand Therapy Association, which demands a demonstration of significant expertise and experience. Whether you want to return to work or sport, or even play the guitar, our therapist will ensure a faster recovery and safe return to a productive lifestyle.