Work Injury: Hand Tendon Laceration – How Occupational Therapy Can Get You Back to Work Faster!

Working with glass or knives, operating machines, or working with various cutting equipment poses risks for accidental hand injuries. One common injury is the laceration of tendons involved in the hand. The hand is composed of flexor tendons which assist with grasping, picking up, and gripping items, as well as extensor tendons which assist in opening the hand to let items go or release grip. Symptoms of a tendon laceration can vary, but most commonly include pain with hand movements, swelling, loss of function of hand or fingers, numbness, and damage to other surrounding structures.

Most often this injury results in immediate surgery followed by therapy to regain functional movement of the hand. Initial therapy treatment will focus on pain control and tendon healing such as ice, heat, modalities, scar mobilization, and soft tissue mobilization. This will be followed by range of motion exercises to regain mobility of fingers and hand such as tendon glides, joint mobilization, finger stretches, and wrist stretches. Upon minimizing pain and increasing range of motion, therapy will then focus on regaining strength and fine motor dexterity in order to regain functional use of the hand.  Simulated work tasks will be incorporated to ensure appropriate range of motion, strength, and dexterity is regained in order to engage in daily work tasks. Therapy is an important part of the recovery process and can lead to faster recovery and return back to work.

If you have questions or concerns, or if you have recently had a work injury, call and schedule a free screening with Choice Therapy today at 218.444.8280!

Marlee Westrum – Occupational Therapist

Therapist of the Week: Leah Gray (Occupational Therapy Assistant)

Leah was born and raised in the Bagley, MN area. After high school she attended Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks, MN and graduated in 2004 with an A.A.S. degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. After college Leah and her husband moved to Rochester, MN for 5 years working in the transitional care unit and long term care patients. In Brainerd, MN Leah continued her experience with the transitional care unit and home health care for 3 years before relocating to the Bagley area. Leah enjoys spending time with her husband (Levi) and 2 kids (Dylan and William), fishing, hiking, biking, and traveling. She also enjoys spending time with other friends and family.

Torn Rotator Cuff: Do I Need Surgery? Will Physical Therapy help?

Question: 

My doctor said I might have a torn rotator cuff. Will I need surgery, or will physical therapy help?

Answer: 

Before determining if you will need surgery or not, your doctor will likely schedule an MRI to take an image of your shoulder to determine if there is a rotator cuff tear. If there is you may or may not need surgery. The answer will depend on how significant the tear is, where the tear is located, your age and lifestyle, along with other factors. Regardless of those factors, your doctor may recommend trying a more conservative route first such as physical or occupational therapy. Your therapist will help to decrease pain, restore motion, improve strength, and hopefully return to your previous level of function. You, your therapist and doctor will then determine if surgery would still be recommended.

If you have been questioning whether or not Physical or Occupational therapy may be right for you, schedule a free 15-minute screening with one of our expert therapists today by calling 218.444.8280! Your Life. Your Health. Your Choice!

Sarah Kuhn: Physical Therapy Assistant