(Riverton and Lander, Wyo) – When presented with the opportunity to mentor a physical therapy graduate student, Mitch Johnson, a physical therapist with Fremont Therapy Group, jumped at the chance to expose the student to his area of specialty. Mitch is a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT), which is a nationally recognized certification for treating patients with upper extremity issues.
Certified hand therapists use advanced training to work with patients that have been injured or have an illness that specifically affects the hand, wrist, arm, elbow or shoulder.
“CHTs can be either physical or occupational therapists,” Mitch points out. “The benefit of being a physical therapist is I can expand the scope of my treatments from the shoulder to the cervical spine. Symptoms of pain and weakness in the upper extremity can derive from issues in the neck.”
“As with many things, when people hurt their hands, they’re not quick to seek help until the pain is significant; it’s just human nature,” explains Mitch. “However, one of the main concerns with injuries to the hand is the person can develop stiffness or weakness that can lead to a loss of function, which can be extremely traumatic. Treatment from a professional who specializes in treating everything from the fingertip to the cervical spine can make a very big difference.”
Tom Davis, a physical therapy graduate student of California State University at Northridge, is gaining exposure and experience while he works with Mitch over the next four months in both the Riverton and Lander clinics. Tom agrees, “In today’s world, the fine motor skills involved in simple every-day tasks, like using your cell phone, can make a big difference, so the more accessible and appropriately skilled therapists in our community, the better.”
As the supervising therapist, Mitch will complete a thorough evaluation and develop individualized treatment plans for his patients, while Tom observes and gains experience.
Tom will also have a hand at making custom splints for patients. Certified Hand therapists fabricate custom splints to meet the unique needs of each patient in terms of both purpose and fit. Splints are used to promote healing and/or prevent further injury. Custom-fabricated splints are made on-site and accommodate individual variations in anatomy and joint alignment and the thermoplastic material used is easier to keep clean than off-the-shelf alternatives. As treatments progress, the therapist can continue to adjust and modify the same splint for proper fit and function.
Certified hand therapists must be licensed physical or occupational therapists and have at least five years and 4,000 hours of clinical practice, making it one of the more difficult certifications to achieve. Mitch achieved his certification in 2011 by the National Association of Certified Hand Therapists. He continues to expand his knowledge with ongoing education, which is required to maintain the certification. There are many areas of specialty available for physical therapists; this unique opportunity for Tom will give him an advantage over many of his peers as he begins to define and focus on his new career.
For more information about this service click here or call (307) 332-5240 in Lander or (307) 856-7021 in Riverton to schedule a personal tour.
About Fremont Therapy Group: Fremont Therapy Group, serving Riverton and Lander communities since 1996, is the oldest privately owned provider of physical therapy services in Fremont County. With 14 licensed therapy professionals on staff, patients are assured access to a therapist with the advance training and skills to address their needs. The breadth of our staff also ensures flexible, timely scheduling and continuity of treatments. Patients are always seen by a licensed therapy professional.
Fremont Therapy operates in modern facilities designed and built specifically for therapy services, and include spacious gym areas, heated aquatic therapy pools, and private treatment rooms.
Fremont Therapy Group is a local company owned by physical therapists who are driven by their profession and the betterment of the communities in which they live and work.