Regaining Your Grip: June 8, 2014

Injuries or medical conditions like carpal tunnel and arthritis can result in people losing their grip on life. But a specialized therapist may help them regain control.

“The first time we see a patient we’re going to do an evaluation with them. We’ll assess their range of motion, asses their swelling, any type of scar tissue from a surgery,” says Brett Bennett. He is a certified hand specialist with Lee Memorial Health System

Bennett works with lower arms, wrists, hands, fingers and thumbs. After evaluating a patient, he generates a treatment plan.

“For example, someone has had an injury to a nerve and they’ve lost sensation in their fingers maybe due to carpal tunnel. We would teach them exercises to help re-educate the nerve, teach them also manipulation type exercises to try help re-educate the nerves, teach them also manipulation type exercises to get them use to handling different type textures things like that so there would be some fine motor coordination involved.”

The best results are seen when therapy is started as soon as possible after an injury or surgery. While patients get hands-on treatment during their appointment, they’re expected to carry the load at home. With take home exercises specific to them.

“Our goal is to get the most independent function out of their hand as possible. I’m constantly re-evaluating someone - not every day that they’re in here, but probably every week that they're here. Evaluating their range of motion, evaluating their swelling, their strength,” says Bennett.

With increased strength, feeling and flexibility- many people are able to grasp life with both hands.