Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hand therapist?

A hand therapist is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who, through advanced study and experience, specializes in treating individuals with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. The most experienced specialists have advanced certification from the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC)  as Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs).

All of the therapists at Hand Therapy Advantage are Certified Hand Therapists.  We feel that our patients benefit from our expertise knowledge, experience, and care.

Do the therapists at Hand Therapy Advantage (HTA) only work on hands?

All the occupational therapists at Hand Therapy Advantage are certified Hand Therapists who are qualified to treat any injuries or wounds of the upper extremities  (e.g. finger, arm, elbow, shoulder, arm).

How is hand therapy different than a massage?

Occupational Therapy Hand Specialists have extensive medical education, training, and certifications related specifically to treating all types of hand and upper extremity injuries (including helping patients heal after surgery).  A massage therapist’s training  is in massaging soft tissues. Please consult with your physician about what types of treatment would be useful in your case.

How long is a session?

Each therapy session is typically an hour long. Please keep this in mind when scheduling your appointment.

Why is my hand swollen?

I think you will agree that swelling can cause pain and loss of function. 

Swelling is a natural response to injury and is one of the body’s ways of signalling adjacent cells that they need to start the healing process.  Sometimes, this is too great and needs to be managed so that other areas (e.g. motion and function) can be achieved.

Will occupational hand therapy cause me physical pain?

About PAIN: I think you will agree that many people wonder if it is normal to have pain after or during therapy.

Pain is the body’s way of letting us know that something is not right.  We listen carefully to what our patients tell us about their pain levels and look for ways to reduce the issues and symptoms that are increasing  pain so that we can adjust our Occupational Therapy (OT) treatments accordingly. We strive to educate patients regarding diagnosis and pain management techniques in order to improve each person’s function.


What should I bring on my first visit?

You will need to bring:

  1. The referral from your doctor,
  2. Your insurance cards,
  3. A photo identification card (e.g. a driver’s license).
  4. If applicable to you may want to bring your medication list etc.
Why do I have to fill out paperwork again?

Because of regulatory requirements, the need for accurate medical history, and the need for billing information, you will have to fill out paperwork even if you have already filled out similar forms for your doctor’s office.

What should I wear to therapy?

Wear clothing that you find comfortable. Keep in mind to wear clothing that will allow our therapists easy access to the area(s) requiring treatment (e.g. elbows or shoulders). We do have a private treatment options available if needed.

Do I need a referral?

Yes, please call or talk to your doctor about sending a referral to for occupational hand therapy (we treat wounds and injuries for everything from the fingertip to the shoulder). For additional information see a list of the services we provide here.