How a Hand Therapist can Alleviate CMC OA Discomfort
November 14, 2023
Living with thumb pain due to CMC OA (Carpometacarpal Osteoarthritis) can be debilitating, affecting daily activities and diminishing the quality of life. Hand Therapy plays a crucial role in managing CMC OA, Offering specialized treatments and exercises that can significantly improve hand mobility and reduce pain. In this blog post, we’ll explore how hand therapist help individuals regain control over their lives despite this challenging condition.
Understanding CMC OA
CMC OA is a form of arthritis that affects the joint at the base of the thumb, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. Over time, the cartilage in the joint wears down, leading to discomfort and difficulty with activities requiring thumb movement, such as gripping, pinching, and twisting. Hand Therapist are trained to understand the complexities of this condition and tailor treatment to address the specific need of each patient.
Customized Treatment Plans
One of the key strengths of hand therapists lies in their ability to create personalized treatment plans for individuals suffering from CMC OA. With a thorough evaluation, hand therapist assess
the severity of the condition, identify the affected movements, and design interventions tailored to the paten’s unique challenges. These plans often include a combination of therapeutic exercises, joint mobilization, and pain management strategies, all geared towards improving hand function and reducing discomfort.
Pain Management Techniques
Hand Therapist employ various pain management techniques to alleviate the discomfort associated with CMC OA. These may include gentle joint mobilizations to improve thumb mobility, splinting to provide support and stability, and modalities such as heat. Additionally, hand therapist educate patients on adaptive techniques and ergonomic modifications that can minimize strain on the thumb joint during daily activities.
Hand Therapists prescribe specific exercises designed to strengthen the muscles surrounding the thumb joint and enhance its stability. These exercises not only help alleviate pain but also improve overall hand function. Patients are guided through a series of movements and resistance exercises that target the affected area, gradually restoring strength and dexterity. With consistent practice, individuals can experience significant improvements in their ability to perform everyday tasks.
Education and Empowerment
Beyond physical treatments, hand therapists empower patients with knowledge about their condition and self management strategies. Understanding the nature of CMC OA, learning
about joint protection techniques, and receiving guidance on adaptive devices enable individuals to actively participate in their rehabilitation process. This education fosters a sense of control and confidence, motivating patients to proactively manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.
Living with CMC OA may present challenges, but with the help of skilled hand therapist, individuals can regain independence and find relief from pain. Through personalized treatment plans, painmanagement techniques, therapeutic exercises, and empowering education, hand therapists empower their patients to overcome the limitations of this condition. If you or
someone you know is struggling with CMC OA, consider consulting Paul Abbey, MOT, OTR/L, CHT and take the first step toward a more comfortable and active life.
Paul is a board-certified, fellowship-trained certified hand therapist who specializes in elbow, wrist, and hand rehabilitation. He has over 10,000 hours of direct patient care.