Why should I see a Certified Hand Therapist?

Why should I see a Certified Hand Therapist?

By: Michael Lee, PT, DPT, CHT

Mike Lee with Patient


There are specialists almost everywhere you look, ranging from car audio specialists, window repair specialists, roof coating specialists, computer specialists, and just about every kind of medical specialist imaginable.  Chances are, if you haven’t met a specialist yet, you probably will.  What’s the deal with all of these specialists?  Should I see a specialist?  What is a specialist?

The human body is extremely complex.  Due to this complexity, being an expert in every body system is challenging at the very least.  Medicine in general, and Physical Therapy as well, has been moving towards increasing specialization.  The hand has many moving parts and many muscles, nerves and tendons all compacted in a small space .  The balanced interaction between all of these elements is both fascinating and complex.  We realize that to understand the exquisite complexity of something like the hand, additional time, education, experience and training are necessary to provide our patients the best possible care.  

Certified Hand Therapists can be of either a Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy background.

  • Certified Hand Therapists are rare.  

  • There are only 5812 worldwide and only 14 currently in Tucson.

  • All Certified Hand Therapists must have a minimum of 5 years of clinical experience, 4,000 hours of hand therapy practice, and successfully pass a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation.  

  • In order to stay informed on all of the latest medical advancements and theories, Certified Hand Therapists must also attend continuing education courses and recertify every 5 years.  

These requirements are necessary to ensure that we are providing quality care that is both safe and effective.  

Certified Hand Therapists, despite the name, aren’t just hand specialists.  We are upper quarter rehabilitation specialists.  Our certification exam encompasses the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.  This is, in large part, due to the recognition that our body doesn’t function in an isolated manner, but rather in unison with other joints.  

Should you see a Certified Hand Therapist?  The short, and admittedly biased answer, is yes.  The question really comes down to a question of value.  Would you rather see someone who treats 5 wrist sprains a month or someone who treats 20?  Is there increased value in seeing someone with more experience with your condition and has board tested and certified knowledge regarding best treatment options for you?  Medical specialties and Physical Therapy specialties have grown over the years because we want to serve you, the patient, better and more effectively.  We want to provide value for your time and money by delivering specialized care for your hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder pain, injuries or surgery.  

At Proactive Hand and Physical Therapy, we would like to opportunity to guide you towards better health and aid you along the path to recovery and function.  

Please use the contact form below to have a ProActive patient coordinator contact you to determine if we can help you with your hand, wrist, elbow and/or shoulder problems.