Hand Therapy

IMG_7253What is Hand Therapy?

Hand Therapy is the specialized treatment of hand and wrist injuries.  Hands and wrists are extremely important and complex parts of our body.  Even a relatively slight loss of function in our hands can create many difficulties for us.  The importance of the hand and its amazing complexity led to the creation of a specialized profession for treating hand dysfunction and disease.

What is a Hand Therapist?

A Hand Therapist starts their career as a Physio or Occupational Therapist and then decides to pursue extra studies and experience working only on the hand.  A Hand Therapist can demonstrate the achievements by gaining a certification recognised by the International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy (IFSHT). The MGS Hand Therapy Clinic is managed by our resident Hand Therapist Vanessa Kirkham, who is both a full member of the Australian Hand Therapy Association and an Accredited Hand Therapist (BAHT).   Vanessa is an experienced and accomplished Hand Therapist; you can read more about Vanessa here.

How do I know if I need to ask for a Hand Therapist?

If you have a hand or wrist injury then our Hand Therapist will be able to help you. Hand Therapy generally takes the same amount of time as regular Physiotherapy with some variations according to the condition treated. If you are currently seeing one of our other Physiotherapists they will tell you if you need the specialized assessment and management of the Hand Therapist.  If you are unsure please ring our Receptionists and they will happily advise you.

Generally if your hand or wrist is your problem then consider asking for an appointment with the Hand Therapist

Do the other Physiotherapists treat hand and wrist conditions?

Yes they do and very proficiently.  In the same way as a GP will treat many illnesses and refer to a Specialist doctor occasionally, so too will a physiotherapist refer occasionally to the Hand Therapist.

Is there a long list of conditions treated by a Hand Therapist?

XRay ImageXRay Image Yes there is and here are just a few

  • XraySports injuries
  • Wrist and hand fractures
  • Finger fractures
  • Post-operative hand and wrist care
  • Ligament injuries
  • Mallet finger injuries
  • Tendon injuries
  • Tendonitis, tendonosis, tendinopathy
  • DeQuervains
  • Trigger thumb/finger
  • Dupuytren’s disease
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Tingling and/or numbness of the hand, wrist and forearm
  • CRPS – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Overuse injuries
  • OA – Osteoarthritis and RA – Rheumatoid Arthritis

For more information on hand conditions visit:

Types of Hand Therapy treatment

As you can imagine there are an enormous amount of different treatments performed in Hand Therapy.  We have listed some of them below

  • Detailed assessment of the hand, wrist and forearm
  • Muscle testing
  • Wrist in castStrength evaluation
  • Strengthening programs
  • Individual exercise programmes
  • Post-operative management:
    • Wound care/dressings
    • Scar management
    • Splints or casts to help protect healing tissues
  • Splinting
  • Custom made thermoplastic splints
  • Provision of braces and supports
  • Swelling management
  • Scar management to optimize healing and appearance
  • Wound care
  • Casting – Waterproof and regular upper limb casts
  • Static and dynamic taping of hand, wrist and forearm
  • Desensitisation of nerves and scar tissue
  • Tendon rehabilitation
  • Sensory assessments
  • Sensory retraining
  • Joint protection
  • Functional restoration


Splinting and bracing

Many patients referred for Hand Therapy will require some form of splint, support or brace.  Splints can be used in hand therapy to:

  • Protect healing tissues and structures, such as fractures or tendon injuries
  • Support a weak or painful structure to allow increased function
  • Prevent deformity in the hand and wrist
  • Rest an inflamed structure
  • Stretch and soften scar tissue
  • Mobilise a stiff joint or adhered tendon


If  splinting is required , there is an extra charge to cover the cost of splinting materials as well as the consultation cost. Click here for more details of Splint costs.


These are links to some information regarding Hand Therapy certifications.

USA:               www.htcc.org                               Qualification:    CHT

UK:                  www.hand-therapy.co.uk          Qualification:    Accredited Hand Therapist (BAHT)

Australia:       www.ahta.com.au                       Qualification:    Full Member Status AHTA – MAHTA


Staff Profiles

Find out a more info on our physiotherapists, their qualifications, how they work... even their interests. Read More

Contact Us

Find out the contact details of each MGS practice:
MGS Manly
MGS Mona Vale

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