Hands on Hand Therapy: December 9, 2013

When Lorraine Distasio fell in the shower, she broke two bones in her wrist. As a result, she lost her grip.

“You can’t open big jars, even water bottles I would have to hold it in my arm here and then be able to turn the water bottle. Driving is hard and typing can be very tedious,” says Distasio.

Brett Bennett sees it every day.

“Hand therapy has been around for quite a few years,” says Bennett, a certified hand therapist.

An occupational therapist with Lee Memorial Health System, he deals with touchy issues - as in hand function.

“We’ll have patients that come in that have had surgery maybe, possibly related to arthritis in their thumbs. Occasionally we’ll have patients that have lacerations whether it’s due to an electrical saw or to a knife or to glass. They will have surgery to repair the tendons,” says Bennett.

Or as in Distasio’s case, rehabbing an injury.

“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 Bennett.

Like most therapies this one is hands on, helping people regain their strength, flexibility and function, through a series of exercises and stimulation.

“I feel it getting better, it’s been about three weeks now and I think that I am getting stronger with it and not thinking about it too much,” says Distasio.

After a quick warm up, the work begins. The earlier in the healing process, the better the outcome.

“We can take all of these range of motion measurements of their wrist or fingers or testing their grip, but ultimately the most important is what can you do with all of that when you’ve finished your rehabilitation, “says Bennett.

Sometimes it takes a helping hand to get people back in motion.