CONNECTICUT ORTHOPAEDIC HAND PROGRAM
At the Hand Therapy Center at CT Orthopaedic Specialists we specialize in providing therapeutic treatment and rehabilitation to restore optimal upper extremity function. Expert individualize treatment is essential following injury, illness or trauma.
Our scope of treatment includes the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand injuries. Injuries treated can be sudden in nature, such as a laceration or fracture, gradual onset of symptoms, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or a chronic condition, such as arthritis. We treat all ages from pediatrics to geriatrics, as well as the non athlete, recreational or professional athlete.
Utilizing our expertise we will work with you in reaching your optimal level of function in work, recreation and leisure.
Hand Therapy is a specialty that has evolved from both the occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) professions. The blending of OT and PT has created a specialty that provides quality rehabilitation of the hand and arm. Therapists must meet education and experience requirements to become Certified Hand Therapists through the Hand Therapy Certification Commission.
Treatment goals are established for each patient based on his/her individual needs. Upon your visit an initial evaluation is performed to identify problem areas and to set goals with you in order to restore your maximal function. A treatment plan is determined in order to select the techniques that will be used in supervised therapy and during independent therapy sessions at home.
Therapists also provide patient education in order to maximize the use of the affected extremity. Education on disease process, healing process and rationale for prescribed therapy techniques.
- Custom Splinting for immobilization and controlled motion post-operation or post-injury
- Wound Care
- Therapeutic Exercise programs to restore motion, strength, fine and gross motor coordination
- Home Exercise Programs
- Sensory re-education programs after injury
- Thermal and electric modalities to minimize pain and swelling, facilitate restoration of join motion, tendon gliding and decrease hypersensitivity
- Patient education and instruction in adaptive techniques, joint protection, energy conservation, and work simplification.
- Patient education in activity modification to prevent reinjury or worsening of condition
- Sports Injuries for all ages
- Reconstructive Hand Surgery
- Wrist and Elbow Surgery
- Congenital Deformities
- Degenerative Joint Disease
- Fracture and Trauma Care
- Work Related Injuries
- Tendon, vascular, and nerve injuries
- Joint contractures
- Arthritis of the Wrist, Hand and Elbow
- Trigger finger
- Trigger finger, or stenosing tenosynovitis, is a problem with a tendon that moves the fingers and or thumb. Symptoms are pain and swelling of the finger. As the condition worsens, the tendon locks when you attempt to straighten the finger. When the tendon releases the finger jumps. This further irritates the tendon and may set up a cycle of painful locking and swelling.
- Nerve compression syndromes
- Tumors of the hand
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
- CTS is a common condition that is caused when too much pressure is put on a nerve that runs through your wrist. The result is numbness, tingling, "pins and needles", burning and pain in the fingers.
Causes of CTS Wear and tear; repetitive hand movements; previous bone dislocation or fracture; arthritis, fluid retention during pregnancy.
CTS Prevention at home and Work:
- Keep wrist in neutral (straight). Avoid using wrist in bent, extended or twisted position for long periods of time.
- Watch your grip. Use whole hand and all the fingers to grasp an object.
- Minimize repetitious movements.
- Conditioning exercises to strength the hand and arm muscles
CTS Nonsurgical Treatment Options:
Nonsurgical treatment of CTS usually begins with a wrist splint; medications or combination of the two.
CTS Surgical Treatment
Surgery maybe recommended if your symptoms persist in spite of nonsurgical treatment.
- DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis
- Extensor Tendon Injuries
- Flexor Tendon Injuries
- Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
- Tennis elbow is a gradual inflammation or tearing of muscle tendons attached at the bone on your outer elbow. Lateral epicondylitis occurs with improper reaching and gripping, lifting objects. It may also occur with repetitive actions such as tennis or golf swing. Treatments include rest; anti-inflammatory pills; cortisone injections; therapy or surgery.
- Crush Injuries
- Distal Radius Fractures
- Finger Fractures
STAR Occupational Therapists are some of the few certified Hand Therapists in the State. We provide comprehensive upper extremity rehabilitation services designed to ensure optimal restoration of function. Its staff has the specialized training and clinical expertise to devise individualized evaluations and treatment programs for a wide range of acute, post-surgical and chronic conditions involving your hand, wrist and elbow and shoulder.
You may schedule an appointment at one of our STAR locations.
Our Orthopaedic Hand Specialist:
Our Hand Therapists:
- Melissa L. Jurgen OTR/L, CHT
- Director of Hand Therapy, COS/STAR Therapy
Melissa joined Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists/ STAR Therapy in 2004. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Quinnipiac University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. She obtained her certification in hand therapy in 2006. She began her career working closely with hand surgeons from Hospital for Special Surgery, where she received extensive training in rehabilitation for the elbow, wrist and hand. Since joining COS/STAR Melissa continues to treat complex post-operative cases. Her clinical special interests are treating trauma and fractures of the elbow, wrist and hand; as well as fabricating customized splints for patients. Melissa resides in Wallingford with her husband.
- Susan Levy OTR/L, CHT
- Sue Levy is and Occupational Therapist with 23 years of experience treating the upper extremity. She is a Quinnipiac University graduate and obtained her certification as a hand and upper extremity specialist in 1996. Her initial training and practice involved extensive trauma and wound care. Later work experiences involved treating more repetitive type injuries and identifying ergonomic stressors in the workplace. Since joining STAR, Sue has developed a strong interest in shoulder rehab. She has attended several shoulder conferences and has observed multiple shoulder surgeries in order to provide the most up-to-date care possible for her patients. She resides in Guilford with her husband and 3 children and treats patients in our Branford office.
- Kristen Heon OTR/L, CHT
- Kristen Heon graduated from Quinnipiac University, in 1999, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. She received her certification in Hand Therapy in 2008 and is a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists. Kristen has experience in subacute rehabilitation with most of her career being in an outpatient setting. Kristen has been working with STAR PT since 2009.
- Kristin Peters RPT, CHT
Pictured from left to right:
Kristin Peters RPT, CHT; Susan Levy OTR/L, CHT;
Kristen Heon OTR/L, CHT; Melissa Jurgen OTR/L, CHT
"If you are experiencing chronic hand arthritis pain,
try paraffin wax dips to sooth aching joints"
"If you wear a tennis elbow strap and it increases your pain…
it may not be tennis elbow."
"If you wake up in the middle of the night and your hands are numb and tingly…
and you can’t shake it off, you may benefit from wrist splinting"
"If your fingers locks at night,
gently tape over your knuckle while sleeping to keep it straight"