HTCC announces the publication of Practice Analysis

by HTCC Admin | Jul 14, 2021
HTCC announces the publication of The 2019 Practice Analysis of Hand Therapy and the Use of Orthoses by Certified Hand Therapists in the Journal of Hand Therapy.
HTCC announces the publication of The 2019 Practice Analysis of Hand Therapy and the Use of Orthoses by Certified Hand Therapists in the Journal of Hand Therapy.

What is Hand Therapy?

Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb, which includes the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle. It is a merging of occupational therapy and physical therapy theory and practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the structure of the upper limb with function and activity. Using specialized skills in assessment, planning and treatment, hand therapists provide therapeutic interventions to prevent dysfunction, restore function and/or reverse the progression of pathology of the upper limb in order to enhance an individual’s ability to execute tasks and to participate fully in life situations.

CHTs are therapists who demonstrate a personal dedication to the profession of hand therapy and a desire for advanced competency.

They bring to their work a commitment and dedication to reach and maintain the highest standards in the profession. CHTs are certified or licensed occupational therapists or physical therapists who, through advanced education, clinical experience, and independent study, have become proficient in the treatment of pathological upper limb conditions resulting from trauma, disease, or congenital or acquired deformity. A CHT has a minimum of three years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy, and has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper limb rehabilitation. Because of changes in the profession, every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years.

Who is a CHT?


The CHT (certified hand therapist) to a hand surgeon is not a commodity or luxury. They are absolutely part of the process of patient healing. They cannot be removed from the process. We see patients together. We work together. We communicate in real--time. My connection with my hand therapist is as an inseparable team.

Orthopedic Surgery Division Chair

My goal to become a CHT is driven by a desire to be an expert in my field, an aspiration for advanced competency to promote maximal patient care, and a personal dedication to hand therapy.

CHT Candidate

HTCC has established a clear framework that delineates the core skills, knowledge, and judgment required to deliver safe and ethical treatment. Maintaining my CHT credential confirms competency in this specialized area and my ongoing commitment to excellence in the practice of hand rehabilitation through life-long learning.

CHT Member of HTCC’s Recertification Committee

Regardless of the surgeon's diagnostic acumen, technical competency, or level of enthusiasm for an excellent post-operative outcome, the final functional result is only 50% in the hands of the surgeon. Responsibility for the remaining 50% rests on the CHTs with whom we work daily. Reconstructive hand surgery is a pas de deux between surgeon and therapist, guiding the patient to the best possible restoration of function.

Hand Surgeon

While non-CHTs are often experienced and well-trained, I feel that it is necessary to have a standard level of care and the certification process to ensure quality. In my experience, those with CHT certification are more experienced, more knowledgeable about anatomy, and are willing to work outside the box with complex patients.

Hand Surgeon