Joanna Krajewski is right-handed and never gave much thought to how important her left arm was – until she broke her left elbow in a fall earlier this year.
But thanks to several sessions with Callie Feldman, an occupational therapist at Alton Memorial’s Human Motion Institute who specializes in hand therapy, Joanna is regaining strength and mobility.
“Your other arm is very important,” Feldman said. “For a right-handed person, the left arm is still used a lot. And you really notice that when it’s weakened by an injury.”
Feldman works three days a week at Alton Memorial and also works at the Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center at Washington University in St. Louis.
“OT does a lot of post-operative work with people,” Feldman said. “The big thing for them is to get their strength back and to regain functional independence.”
Joanna tripped on a sidewalk and broke her elbow in February.
“It was terrible,” she said. “I just looked terrible and there was so much pain. Callie has helped me feel better and now I’m getting close to being able to do everything I could do before the injury.”
Hand therapy, a specialty practice area of occupational therapy, is typically concerned with treating upper extremity conditions to optimize the functional use of the hand and arm.
Hand therapy typically addresses biomechanical issues underlying upper-extremity conditions. Occupational therapy practitioners bring an added dimension to this specialty area. They use an occupation-based and client-centered approach that identifies the participation needs of the client.
The ultimate goal of therapy is to ensure that the rehabilitation process promotes healing while also enabling clients to perform meaningful activities both in the clinic and in their daily lives. This approach fosters positive outcomes for clients, including enhancing their satisfaction with the therapy experience and results, maintaining their ability to engage in desired roles within their family and the community, and most importantly, experiencing quality of life as they define it.
Pictured above: Callie Feldman, an occupational therapist at Alton Memorial Hospital’s Human Motion Institute, does some hand therapy with Joanna Krajewski of Wood River.