“Concern for man himself and his safety must always be for the chief interest of all technical endeavour. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.” - Albert Einstein
This June we are celebrating Hand Therapy Awareness week with a focus on injuries that occur in the workplace. It is an unfortunate statistic that finger, hand and upper limb injuries are very common in workplace injuries, if not the most common injuries. 1 2 Injuries to the Upper Limb, Shoulder, Neck and Arms accounted for 39% of all injuries. 3 Traumatic joint, ligament, muscle and tendon injuries account for 43 percent of all injuries. 4 Specifically sprain/strain accounted for 28.7%, chronic joint or muscle conditions were 20.4%, Open Wounds & Cuts had 12.6% and Fractures were 8.5% of all injuries. 5
While we all work to keep our workplaces safer, we as hand therapists need to ensure we are seeing these patients return as quickly as possible to their pre-injury duties and have a good experience while dealing with their individual traumatic situation. It is also important to diagnose these injuries accurately and efficiently so the correct treatments can occur without delay. At The Hands Physio we also focus on the health of the whole upper body while a more local area of injury recovers. The strength and endurance of the upper body is paramount to successfully return to the workplace.
Another function of the Hand Therapist is to teach preventative measures to our patients minimise the chance of re-injury. We have an upper body exercise videos available to the public to help people stretch throughout the day to prevent muscle fatigue and injury.
A Hand Therapist or Hand Therapy Practitioner uses creativity and medicine to assess, educate, diagnose and treat injuries and conditions of the upper body (neck, shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand). Optimal hand function is essential for good quality of life.
Hand Therapy in Australia is regulated through the Australian Hand Therapy Association (AHTA). Through extensive clinical experience, advanced education, with the integration of the knowledge of anatomy, injury, illness, and deformity, a hand therapist gains the credential of an Accredited Hand Therapist (AHT). This is reviewed every five years to keep the standards and proficiency of treatment high to ensure the best outcomes for patients. Evidence based practice with current peer review journal articles.
A Hand Therapist:
- Requires no doctor’s referral
- Requests the necessary investigations - X-rays, Ultrasounds and MRI’s
- Writes specific medical certificates
- Writes certificate of capacities for return-to-work patients. We have the specific knowledge to know weight limits and repetition criteria for people returning to work
- Works with a large network of Surgeons and GP’s both to refer to and recommend
A Hand Therapist at The Hands Physio is autonomous in their ability to diagnose injuries by using assessment skills, specific tests, and a specialised knowledge of normal movement patterns, physiology, and anatomy of the upper body. The benefit of seeing a Hand Therapist is confidence in the accuracy of diagnosis, communication, and skills in all treatment programs.
A Hand Therapist will educate and inform patients of all aspects of their physical injury or illness. Specific information is given like “when to return to sport?”, “when can I drive again?” “when can I return to work?” along with the specific anatomy and tissue healing processes of the injury or illness. Both digital and print information can be taken with the patient so they can refer to what was told to them and so they can share the information with their family and friends.
A Hand Therapist will communicate to really understand the patient’s perspective and experience to develop trust to ensure goals and treatments follow the patient’s expectations.
Managing Workplace Injuries
At The Hands Physio, if you have experienced a Workplace Injury our staff can help you navigate all the paperwork and assist you with:
- Finding out your claim number
- Contacting your case manager
- Providing you with your ongoing Certificate of Capacities
- Documenting your appointment schedules if you need to claim your travel expenses
- Communicating with your GP, surgeon, workplace, rehabilitation provider and case manager
With over 25 years' experience with worker compensation procedures we can simplify the process for you and inform you of the necessary procedures, so you are able to relax and focus on your recovery. Your Hand Therapist will customise a specific treatment program for your injury. We have specific programs to improve range of motion, stiffness, wounds, pain, strength, proprioception, sensation, dexterity, handwriting, and many others. The functioning of the whole upper body is considered in all programs. We navigate you through your successful return to work rehabilitation providing you with your lifting capacities, finding suitable duties and managing the building of your hours of work to pre-injury capacity.
It is important that the treatment exercises are pain free, achievable, and easy to follow. Digital and print programs are given to each patient.
If you have had a Workplace Injury, then seeking treatment from a skilled Hand Therapist who has trained at The Hands Physio could benefit you greatly.
Contact The Hands Physio today by calling (02) 9743 4672 or book an appointment on www.thehandsphsio.com.au if you would like more information or require advice on treatment options.
- Yedulla, Nikhil R., et al."Upper-Extremity Injuries Are the 2nd Most Common Workplace Injuries from1992 to 2018." (2020).