Hand Therapy

What is hand therapy?

Hand Therapy is a type of rehabilitation performed by an occupational or physical therapist on patients with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. Such therapy is performed by a provider with a high degree of specialization that requires continuing education and, often, advanced certification. This enables the hand therapist to work with patients to hasten their return to a productive lifestyle.

The therapist evaluates the patient’s physical issues, listens to the patient’s concerns, and collaboratively treats the patient and teaches the patient to care for their injury/disease.

Our occupational therapists have master level degrees in occupational therapy along with clinic study and years of experience.

  • Nationally certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
  • Licensed by the state of South Dakota
  • Certified in use of therapeutic modalities
  • Trained in the specialized area of upper extremity rehabilitation and therapeutic interventions

We are very proud to say that Orthopedic Institute has 3 of the 15 Certified Hand Therapists in the state of South Dakota.  A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who has a minimum of five years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, the Certified Hand Therapist has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation. Because of changes in the profession, every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by re-certifying every five years.


Who is a candidate for hand therapy?

Patients who are candidates for hand therapy may have been affected by an accident or trauma leaving them with wounds, scars, burns, injured tendons or nerves, fractures, or even amputations of the fingers, hands, or arms. Others include patients who suffer from the effects of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, as well as from such chronic problems as arthritis or a neurologic condition.


Available  Services

  • Custom fabricated static, progressive, or dynamic splints to adjust to individual needs or multi-traumatic injury
  • Fitting and instruction with prefabricated splints
  • Evaluation and treatment of hand conditions including, but not limited to:  cumulative trauma disorders, arthritis, nerve impingement, wound care, tendon injuries, traumatic hand injuries, and joint replacement
  • Pre and post-surgical rehabilitation/hand therapy including range of motion, strengthening, activities of daily living, joint protection, desensitization, and scar maturation
  • Conservative management of disease or injury
  • Patient education for proper mechanics, ergonomics, activities of daily living, and adaptive equipment



“All I can say is Dr. Curd is simply amazing.  My thumb was drilled off at work and I had lived without a thumb for a year.  I was seeing a doctor at another clinic and he referred me to Dr. Curd at Orthopedic Institute because he knew he had done pollicization surgeries before.  The surgery went great and I can do things now that I couldn’t do before.  My therapist from OI was fantastic.  I made the 200 mile round trip 3 times a week.  I probably put 20,000 miles on my vehicle, but it was worth it to keep seeing my therapist from Orthopedic Institute.”

–  R.B., index pollicization, (pollicization is the surgical creation of a thumb from a finger, usually the index finger)