May 06, 2021

What is Hand Therapy?

Marguerita Murray, MS, OTR/L, CHT, occupational and certified hand therapist at Mountainside Medical Center demonstrates the use of TrueBalance, a tool used to help with wrist strengthening and body awareness.

Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes a bevy of pastimes requiring arm strength. Whether swimming, swinging a bat or pushing a lawnmower, our upper extremities get plenty of use during warmer months. It is a good time to talk about how we can help you take extra care of your body, from hands to shoulders and every joint and ligament in between.

What Is hand therapy?

Most of us have heard of physical therapy, but hand therapy is much more specialized. Hand therapy involves the evaluation of the upper extremity (hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, arm and shoulder) in order to treat injuries and conditions. A hand therapist’s primary goal is to get patients to their highest level of function.

For many patients, completing daily tasks is difficult or causes pain somewhere in the upper extremity. A hand therapist has specific knowledge and skills to evaluate causes and treatments, including exercise, custom orthotics, pain management and more.

Who needs hand therapy?

There is no single type of patient who benefits most from seeing a hand therapist. We treat patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, injuries, neurological disorders or who have had a stroke, among other ailments. Our goal is to help our patients achieve a successful recovery and improve their quality of life.

Why work with a certified hand therapist

A certified hand therapist (CHT) is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who has a minimum of three years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more of direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, the CHT has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation. Every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years, which ensures they are up to date on changes in the profession. They work closely with orthopedic and general surgeons who also specialize in the hand to ensure optimal outcomes for patients.


Information provided by Marguerita “Margo” Murrary, MS, OTR/L, CHT, occupational and certified hand therapist at Mountainside Medical Center. Margo provides individualized treatment to patients with a wide variety of diagnoses, injuries and conditions. To schedule, click here or call 973-429-6011 to schedule an appointment.


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