Melbourne Hand Rehab - Hand Therapy Newsletter
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JULY 2020
Joining hands image by Hannah Busing, UnSplash

Hello everyone,

We hope that you and your family are all keeping well.

During these challenging times, your health and safety remain our number one priority. You may have recently noticed the media reporting that fewer people are going to their medical appointments or seeking medical help due to anxiety about COVID-19. This is concerning as now, more than ever, it’s critical that people continue to manage their general health and don’t let symptoms get away from them.

If you or a family member have been experiencing an issue with your hands and wondering if you should book an appointment, please keep in mind that we offer a range of options for treatment to suit your needs. As well as regular clinic consultations we also offer telehealth online video consults and home visits.

In this issue we'll be highlighting a new evidence based exercise program to help manage the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, as well as information about a condition commonly known as Trigger Finger.

Best wishes everyone and stay safe.
Karen and the team at Melbourne Hand Rehab
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Rheumatoid arthritis can be a challenging condition to live with, which can cause inflammation and pain of multiple joints including those of the hands. People with this condition initially notice stiffness in both their hands which can last up to an hour in the mornings, and their joints may appear to be swollen. Early diagnosis is key, as well as hand therapy to promote hand function and improve pain. 

A new exercise programme has turned heads in hand therapy, which supports movement and strengthening exercises for this condition. SARAH, or Strengthening And stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand, is a programme consisting of 10 specific exercises. The exercises are simple, convenient, and can be performed even just once a day and still provide therapeutic benefits. 

In regards to evidence, this exercise programme was found to improve hand muscle strength and dexterity compared to individuals who received typical hand therapy without SARAH. The programme also has increased rates of patient satisfaction, and 81% of those who perform the programme feel it improves their hand function compared to 63% of those who receive normal care. 

At Melbourne Hand Rehab, our therapists have recently engaged in professional development regarding rheumatoid arthritis management and the SARAH programme, and can offer a variety of splinting options, gloves, exercises, and other therapeutic modalities to address rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, we can also provide advice on how you can manage your condition, and how you can use your hands in ways which protect joint health and decrease your pain. This can also include advice on aids and equipment to help you complete everyday activities.

We have an online platform for both the exercise programme (with videos and instructions), as well as offering online video consultations, so if you want an appointment via video consultation we are more than happy to help you with this. 

If you, or someone you know has rheumatoid arthritis, then we are happy to help provide advice and support to achieve your goals and manage your symptoms.

Do you have questions about rheumatoid arthritis? Phone reception on 03 7035 7849 or use our online booking portal to make an appointment.
By Holly Johnson
Here's Karen discussing the Arthritis Management Program at Melbourne Hand Rehab.
For more information call 03 7035 7849 or book online

Stenosing Tenovaginosis (commonly known as trigger finger) is a relatively common problem we see at Melbourne Hand Rehab. Typically, our clients present with a tell-tale 'trigger' or catch/pop of a finger or thumb when making a fist or when first waking up.
The problem arises at the A1 pulley as the tendon and muscle that bend our finger pulls through as you can see in the image. As we bend our finger the tendon/muscle slides under the pulley. With trigger finger, a thickening has occurred and although the tendon can still slide under the pulley to bend the finger, it gets stuck there, unable to slide back under to allow the finger to straighten.
The thickening can be felt as a little lump at the base of the finger or thumb and can be a little painful to touch. 

Conservative management is the first port-of-call treatment for most patients. Splinting the involved finger or thumb for 6-10 weeks provides a rest period to allow inflammation at the tendon sheath to settle. There are a variety of suitable splints with one common type pictured below – this is a simple ring style splint which allows full hand function.

Although symptoms generally show good improvement with conservative management, stubborn presentations that are not responding to conservative management can be managed with corticosteroid injection, or surgical intervention.
Trigger Finger is a relatively common condition that can be treated conservatively with splinting at Melbourne Hand Rehab. Splinting takes place over 6-10 weeks and symptoms usually show a steady improvement over this time. 
Do you have questions about trigger finger? Phone reception on 03 7035 7849 or use our online booking portal to make an appointment.

By Nicholas Reither
Your Hand Therapy Options:
Clinic Consults • Home Visits • Telehealth Video Consults
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