HAND THERAPY, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AND PHYSICAL THERAPY
Physical therapists promote changes in joint, soft tissue, posture, and behavior to enable people to move about their environment unrestricted. Occupational therapists use similar techniques to help people engage in meaningful daily activities, (things that "occupy their time"), with as few limitations as possible. Hand therapy is a fine partnership between occupational and physical therapy.
Since WWII, orthopedic surgeons, occupational and physical therapists have been developing specific treatment protocols to work with patients following delicate hand and arm surgeries.
By the 1980s, in order to identify competence in the practice of hand therapy, a certification committee was created. The Hand Therapy Certification Committee (HTCC) establishes strict regulations and administers a rigorous board exam only if a therapist becomes eligible: An OT or PT had to have at least *5 years work experience as a licensed occupational therapist or physical therapist and have logged 4000 hours working specifically with hand and upper extremity conditions. *Applicants are now required to have 3 or more years working as a licensed OT or PT to become eligible to sit for the board exam.
Passing the HTCC board examination is no easy task. The board exam holds high regard as the indicator that a clinician has gone above and beyond, intimately learning the complexities of the upper limb, being familiar with the complicated procedures surgeons perform to keep it in working order, and the and ever-evolving therapeutic protocols we use to rehabilitate them to their most functional capabilities. Passing the HTCC board exam is what allows a small percentage of OTs and PTs in the rehab profession (approximately 7,000 world-wide), to proudly use the credential CHT- CERTIFIED HAND THERAPIST.