Pediatric Hand Therapy

At Children's Health℠, our hand therapists have specialized training in hand and upper extremity care. We focus on treating children and are experts in childhood development and anatomy. We can design fun, personalized, age-appropriate therapies that help your child meet their personal therapy goals.

What is Pediatric Hand Therapy?

Pediatric hand therapy uses noninvasive exercises to help your child strengthen their hands and increase their flexibility and range of motion. This type of therapy is often recommended for children who have had hand surgery or a hand injury. Children who were born with hand differences can also benefit from hand therapy. Your child will work with a therapist who specializes in helping children master skills they need for everyday living (these providers are known as occupational therapists (OT).

Our compassionate, expert therapists will develop a personalized care plan for your child to help them develop or regain important skills like eating, dressing, bathing and writing. They also work to help athletes with hand injuries get back in the game.

What are the benefits of Pediatric Hand Therapy?

Pediatric hand therapy can improve the flexibility, strength and range of motion in your child’s hands so they can be more independent and self-sufficient. Our therapists are dedicated to helping each child achieve the most function possible in their hands so they can better interact with the world around them.

What are the side effects of Pediatric Hand Therapy?

Children may feel slight discomfort during therapy, but our therapists will work to adjust exercises to help your child feel more comfortable as they progress. Children who wear splits may also have minor skin irritation, which is why we work to customize splints for all children in our care.

What are the risks of Pediatric Hand Therapy?

Pediatric hand therapy is very safe. However, it may have minor risks like increasing edema in the hand.

What to expect with Pediatric Hand Therapy

First, your child’s hand therapist will perform an assessment to see how well your child can use their hand.

The therapist will then design a therapy program that is right for them. It might involve exercises like:

  • Playing with different thicknesses of clay
  • Lifting hand weights
  • Climbing a rock wall
  • Stretching hands and fingers
  • Throwing and catching balls

Your child might also benefit from custom made splints or therapies like:

  • Heat therapy
  • Ice therapy
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) treatment

Your child may attend therapy appointments as often as twice a week or even just once a month at the occupational therapy clinic to learn these exercises and skills. The length of their therapy depends on their specific needs.

Our therapists will also teach you how to work with your child at home. For instance, you might help them move their hand to stretch it. Doing exercises at home can help your child progress through therapy.

How do I prepare my child for Pediatric Hand Therapy?

You can talk to your child about how hand therapy can help them. You should also tell them you will help them practice their exercises at home.

Encouraging your child to be patient is also helpful. Sometimes children get frustrated when they aren’t getting better as quickly as they want. But hand therapy takes time, and practice makes a big difference. Our therapists work to engage kids and help them understand what to expect as therapy continues.

What questions should I ask my provider about Pediatric Hand Therapy?

You can ask your doctor or occupational therapist questions like:

  • What can I do at home to help my child with their therapy?
  • How often should my child get hand therapy?
  • How long will my child need hand therapy?
  • How long are hand therapy appointments?
  • Does my child need any other care to help with their hand?

Pediatric Hand Therapy Doctors and Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will my child be able to do things other kids their age do?

    Your child’s therapist will help you understand what your child’s future may look like. They’ll ask you about your goals and your child’s goals before the design therapy.

  • Will my child be able to play sports again?

    After a sports injury, we will focus on getting back full function in your child’s hand. Your child’s therapist will help you and your child know what to expect in the future.

  • How long will my child need hand therapy?

    Some children will only need a few sessions of hand therapy to see the improvements they need. Other children may need months of therapy to regain strength and flexibility. Your child’s therapist will provide a specific plan of care for your child.