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Hand Therapy Program

The Hand Therapy Program is staffed by experienced therapists, including
certified hand therapists (CHT), who specialize in the treatment of hand and upper extremity injuries.

Certified hand therapists have a minimum of five years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, certified hand therapists have successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation. Certified hand therapists are required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years. Currently, there are fewer than 6,000 certified hand therapists in the United States.

Conditions Treated

Our therapists provide one-on-one treatment for a variety of hand and upper extremity injuries. Injuries we regularly see include:

  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Cumulative trauma disorders
  • Dislocations and sprains
  • Fractures of the hand, wrist, forearm and humerus
  • Repetitive strain injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve compressions
  • Tendinitis
  • Tendon and nerve lacerations
  • Various types of arthritis including rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, scleroderma and psoriatic arthritis


Hand Therapy Patient

The goal of therapy is to address each individual's goals and needs, decrease/manage pain, diminish deficits due to injury/condition and promote healing and return the individual to an optimal functional status.

A holistic approach to evaluation and assessment of each individual's condition and needs will result in a customized treatment approach and plan. Therapists work closely with the referring physician to ensure continuity of care.

The personalized therapy program may consist of custom fabricated orthotics to promote healing and /or functional use of the hand, manual therapy techniques, modalities, exercises, instruction in adaptive equipment, time management, joint protection techniques. 

The therapy program may also consist of instruction in ergonomics which may include proper set up of the computer, i.e. proper posture and positioning of the individual with respect to the workstation, keying techniques, and use of various types of pointing devices.

Appointments & Referrals



Related Services at UC San Diego Health System

AAOS Resources

Get info on hand conditions and treatments from AAOS.