7 tips to avoid hand/arm injuries
A hand being caught in a door, a child running with scissors or even holding a video game controller too much. Hand injuries to children happen more often than you might think. But what happens after the injury? Cara Smith, a certified hand therapist and Hand Therapy Program coordinator at Cook Children’s, has the answers.
Pamela Sherman, M.D., is a highly specialized and skilled orthopedic hand surgeon at Cook Children’s who has more than 3,000 hand patient visits per year. In order for her patients to be successful after her surgeries she relies on highly specialized rehab therapists called hand therapists. A hand therapist can be a licensed physical or occupational therapist. To become a hand therapist requires many hours of training beyond the basic education of a physical or occupational therapist. The hand therapists at Cook Children’s work closely with Dr. Sherman in her outpatient clinics to provide collaborative and comprehensive care to the patients and families.
Hand therapy is the art and science of evaluating and treating injuries and conditions of the upper extremity (shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand). The Cook Children’s SPORTS program is staffed with hand therapists at three locations across Tarrant County whose expertise is treating children with an injury or condition that affects the arm or hand. The hand therapists work with the kids from birth to 21 years to assess their needs and develop a treatment plan that allows them to return to their normal activities.
Injuries of the hand are quite common, but steps can be taken to prevent some of them from happening. Here are a few tips to help prevent hand and arm injuries:
- Wear protective gear, such as elbow pads and wrist guards, during sports activities.
- Make sure children do not play near treadmills or other exercise equipment. Be sure to turn off the equipment and/or unplug them from the power source.
- Supervise children when using knives or sharp scissors.
- When using a game controller, put pillows in your lap to rest your arms on.
- Take regular breaks when performing a repetitive task. This can help prevent overuse injuries.
- Change positions often if you are going to be holding an object for an extended amount of time.
- Review your body mechanics and posture when performing a task.
About the author
Cara Smith, PT, CHT, is a certified hand therapist and the Hand Therapy Program coordinator for the SPORTS program at Cook Children's. Cook Children's offers hand rehabilitation services for all ages, diagnoses and stages of care. We help rehabilitate children/adolescents with a wide variety of congenital conditions and traumatic injuries.
For more information, call 817-347-2925. Cook Children's hand rehabilitation services are under the direction of our Sports Performance Orthopedic Rehabilitation Team Specialists (SPORTS).
Cook Children's offers three SPORTS Rehab locations for hand therapy: