UnityPoint Health - Madison

Hand Therapy

When a traumatic or repetitive injury or condition has affected your hand or arm, you need specialized rehabilitation to help regain your maximum level of independent function. Hand therapy is a field that focuses on injuries, diseases or disorders of the upper limb, from the shoulder to the fingertips.

The Hand Therapy Certification Commission definition:

Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb, which includes the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle. It is a merging of occupational and physical therapy theory and practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the structure of the upper limb with function and activity. Using specialized skills in assessment, planning and treatment, hand therapists provide therapeutic interventions to prevent dysfunction restore function and/or reverse the progression of pathology of the upper limb in order to enhance an individual's ability to execute tasks and to participate fully in life situations.

Our certified hand therapists are occupational therapists who have successfully completed a specialized training, accrued a minimum of five years of experience in the field and passed the comprehensive hand therapy certification exam. They can provide evaluation and treatment for people who have difficulty using their hand or arm due to an injury or chronic problem, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve compressions
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Fractures or dislocations
  • Ligament injuries or repairs
  • Pain syndromes
  • Sprains and strains
  • Surgical reconstructions
  • Tendonitis
  • Tendon injuries, repairs or grafts
  • Tendon transfers
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Joint instability
  • Shoulder impingement

What Sets Us Apart?

Our hand therapy staff offers a high level of expertise, and great communication between all sites and sharing of staff experience. We work closely with Dr. Amy Franta, orthopedic specialist, and Dr. Jeffrey Larson, hand and plastic surgeon, and their respective departments to offer the best care coordination and best patient experience possible.

How to Get an Appointment

We offer services at four different locations in the greater Madison area for easy access which includes Monona clinic, Park Street clinic, DeForest-Windsor clinic, and West clinic.

You must obtain a referral from your physician prior to scheduling an appointment. Our scheduling staff will be happy to assist you in setting up your initial visit at the location of your choice. You can contact them by dialing (608) 417-5050.


Depending on your condition, evaluation may include assessment of your range-of-motion, coordination, strength, edema (swelling), skin/wound conditions, sensation and function in daily living activities such as work, self-care and leisure activities.


Most health insurance policies include coverage for occupational therapy. If you have questions about your coverage, contact your insurance carrier. Please bring your insurance card with you to your first visit.


Treatment is tailored to meet your personal needs. It may include exercise, therapeutic treatments (heat, ultrasound, etc.), customized splinting, adaptive techniques and devices, and/or management of pain and swelling.

Your active involvement will play an important role in your recovery. You will be encouraged to practice and ask questions during therapy to ensure proper use of exercises, equipment and activities. You will also be given programs to continue the therapeutic process at home.

Education Materials

Written information regarding recommended exercises, activity modifications, specialized equipment, etc. will be provided during your therapy session as indicated. The use of a personal phone for instructional pictures and videos is encouraged as available, as it provides an additional support to the learning experience.

Hand Injuries

Occupational Therapist, Kelly Talbot, Talks About Hand Injuries