Articles written by professionals from The Wellington Hospital for Healthcare Professionals.
Specialist Hand Therapist Melita Ryan presents the advances in technology being used in the world of hand and upper limb therapy
In a world that is increasingly focused on technology, many patients want to know about the latest and most advanced methods to help them recover from hand and wrist injuries. Hand and upper limb therapy has certainly progressed over the past few years, particularly with the introduction of smartphone apps and easily accessible methods. As a result, our therapists are utilising more modern, patient accessible techniques in their treatment sessions.
Here are some recent advances that we are using at The London Hand and Wrist Unit and some great apps you can recommend to patients:
Yes, every athlete at the Olympics was decked out in kinesiotape but what does it actually do? Kinesiotape was developed in Japan by Kinesio Kase as an alternative method of sports strapping which, up until that point, had been rigid and restricted movement. The tape itself is designed to imitate the role of the skin over the underlying muscle structures. It is great for soft tissue sport injuries of the hand and upper limb as it has been demonstrated to reduce the bruising and swelling associated with localised inflammation. Kinesiotape supports underperforming structures when it is applied over a particular tendon or ligament, increasing the body’s awareness of the structure and assisting it to perform.
These are not for the light hearted and must be used under the instruction of a therapist as they can be damaging for some hand injuries. We feel that the powerball is a great device to develop strength and stability. There is increasing evidence to suggest that assistance with regaining wrist movement and strength post-injury and the restoration of proprioception (the awareness of the position of the wrist in space) is important. The powerball creates a feeling of resistance as you rotate the ball, developing your body’s joint awareness.
Through research, we are learning more and more about the role of the brain in rehabilitating hand and upper limb injuries. Increasingly, studies are demonstrating that improving laterality enhances movement and control. This can reduce pain symptoms in patients with painful conditions. Orientate can be set to work on hand and/or foot laterality.
There are other laterality apps provided by the NOI Group which are more in-depth. A therapist will be able to advise patients on which is best suited for specific conditions.
The best way to understand a hand injury is to be able to picture what is happening to the injured structure. Hand decide is a free app that gives the patient a 3D image of the hand, the underlying structures and how the structures work together to create movement.
A patient will never forget their exercises again! Rehab Minder is great for the busy patient. The therapist can set up the timing and exercises to remind them when an exercise is due, complete with guided demonstration.
Hand and Wrist, Injuries, Technology,Smartphone, Therapists, Olympics, Apps, Soft Tissue Injuries, Stability, Restoration,
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