Hand Therapy | Rehabilitation & Expert Care | MedStar Health
A hand therapist works with a patient following successful surgery at MedStar Health.

In addition to our medical and surgical care, The Curtis National Hand Center is one of the world's top rehabilitation centers for the hand, wrist, arm, elbow, and shoulder. Our hand therapy program offers a specialized rehabilitation approach that includes comprehensive and individualized evaluation and treatment.

Hand therapy

Evolved from both the occupational therapy (OT) and the physical therapy (PT) professions, hand therapy is a specialty that provides quality rehabilitation of the hand and arm. Therapists must meet education and experience requirements to become Certified Hand Therapists through the Hand Therapy Certification Commission.

Therapy is ideal for patients with

  • Bone fractures

  • Wounds

  • Injured tendons or nerves

  • Amputation of a finger, hand, or arm

  • Repetitive motion disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and arthritis

  • Neurological disorders

Upon referral, an experienced OT or PT completes a full evaluation of the affected extremity. Following the evaluation, an individualized treatment program is developed to address the patient's needs. The program is modified as necessary throughout the course of therapy to maximize functional outcome and use of the injured or affected extremity.

Rehabilitation therapies

At MedStar Health, our hand specialists work with each patient to establish a treatment plan — including the techniques used in supervised and independent therapy sessions — based on their individual situation and needs.

Additionally, our therapists teach and guide each patient to maximize the use of the dysfunctional extremity while preventing re-injury or worsening of condition. Therapists may educate the patient on the disease process, the healing process, and rationale for the prescribed therapy techniques.

An assortment of services are offered, including

  • Management of acute or chronic pain

  • Protective splinting for immobilization and controlled motion post-operatively or post-injury

  • Exercise programs to restore motion, strength, and fine and gross motor coordination

  • Home exercise programs

  • Sensory re-education programs after nerve injury

  • Thermal and electrical modalities to minimize pain and swelling, facilitate restoration of joint motion and tendon gliding, and decrease hypersensitivity

  • Whirlpools to assist with wound healing

  • Social work consultations