How effective is hand therapy?

The human hand is incredibly complex, containing 27 bones, 34 muscles, and over 30 joints that allow us to grip, pinch, feel textures, and perform fine motor skills. When our hands become injured or impaired due to conditions like arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendonitis, it can greatly impact our quality of life.

For individuals in Berkeley Heights, NJ, seeking effective hand therapy solutions, Berkeley Heights Physical Therapy at FYZICAL Berkeley Heights offers specialized care tailored to enhance hand function and alleviate pain.

What is Hand Therapy?

Hand Therapy in Berkeley Heights is administered by therapists with advanced certification and training in hand rehabilitation.

Hand therapists utilize techniques like targeted exercises, massage, splinting, and neuromuscular re-education to treat acute injuries, chronic conditions, or postsurgical rehabilitation of the hand and upper extremities.

The goal is to restore optimal hand function and help patients regain strength, flexibility, sensation, and fine motor skills.

Effectiveness of Hand Therapy

There is substantial research demonstrating the effectiveness of hand therapy for a wide array of hand and wrist conditions, including:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Hand therapy focusing on nerve gliding, splinting, and tendon gliding exercises has been found to significantly decrease symptoms and improve function for carpal tunnel syndrome. One study found hand therapy to be just as effective as carpal tunnel release surgery for mild to moderate cases.
  • Osteoarthritis – A combination of joint protection advice, assistive devices, hand exercises, modalities, and splinting can effectively reduce pain and improve hand function and quality of life for patients with hand osteoarthritis.
  • Trigger Finger – Hand exercises combined with splinting of the affected finger has been shown to be an effective non-surgical treatment for the trigger finger, with fewer complications than corticosteroid injections.
  • Fractures – Early hand therapy has been found to significantly improve range of motion, grip strength, and function after hand and wrist fractures. Mobilization of joints and tissues prevents stiffness and contractures.
  • Tendonitis – Manual therapy techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, and therapeutic ultrasound, along with progressive strengthening, can successfully treat tendinopathies of the hand and wrist.
  • Dupuytren’s Contractures – Stretching protocols and splints worn after collagenase injections help minimize the reoccurrence of contractures caused by Dupuytren’s disease.
  • Arthritis – Joint protection advice, assistive devices, exercise, and modalities can effectively improve hand function and reduce pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of hand arthritis.
  • Neurological Conditions – Hand therapy encourages neuroplasticity through sensory stimulation, splinting, and exercises to regain motor control and hand use after a stroke or nerve injury.

These are just a sample of the many evidence-based applications of hand therapy. The techniques help resolve acute injuries, improve chronic conditions, and prevent further disability.

Since the methods are non-invasive, hand therapy is an excellent first-line treatment before considering medication, injections, or surgery for hand and wrist problems.

Benefits of Hand Therapy

There are many advantages to utilizing hand therapy over passive treatments or surgery alone:

  • Improves function – Hand therapy is focused on enabling patients to use their hands for daily tasks through targeted rehabilitation. The function is restored in an active way.
  • Non-invasive – The techniques do not involve medication or surgery and have minimal side effects or risks.
  • Cost-effective – Hand therapy is often more affordable than high-cost procedures or operations.
  • Customized treatment – Each therapy plan is tailored to the individual’s unique condition and lifestyle for optimal results.
  • Empower patients – Patients play an active role in their rehabilitation through education, at-home exercises, and carrying-over strategies into daily living.
  • Prevents further disability – Hand therapy can help resolve issues before they advance and cause greater impairment.
  • Alternative to surgery – In many cases, hand therapy is just as successful as surgery, allowing patients to avoid operations.
  • Post-surgical rehab – Hand therapy is critical after surgery to prevent complications and restore function.
  • Addresses whole hand – All aspects of the hand are treated, including muscle, joint, and nerve involvement.
  • Evidence-based – Techniques are supported by extensive research on efficacy and outcomes.

Hand therapy provides comprehensive rehabilitation based on each patient’s specific needs and goals. The customized nature of the treatment leads to better outcomes and recovery.

Finding a Hand Therapist

It is important to see a qualified hand therapist with advanced certification, like a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). Look for therapists with years of hand therapy experience and continuing education. Facilities offering hand therapy include hospitals, clinics, and occupational/physical therapy offices.

Research therapist credentials, reviews, and experience with your condition, and choose a convenient location. Get referrals from physicians, surgeons, or primary therapists.

FYZICAL Berkeley Heights in Berkeley Heights, NJ, has highly skilled occupational and physical therapists, including CHTs, providing customized hand therapy services. Their expertise can help you regain optimal hand function.


Hand therapy provided by a certified hand therapist is highly effective for hand conditions causing pain, stiffness, and loss of function. Customized interventions can successfully resolve injuries, improve chronic diagnoses, and prevent disability after surgery.

Berkeley Heights Physical Therapy enables patients to actively regain mobility, strength, and dexterity through tailored rehabilitation techniques. If you’re suffering from limited hand function, FYZICAL Berkeley Heights in Berkeley Heights, NJ, has exceptional hand therapists to help your hands function their best again.