Hand & Upper Extremity Therapy Program

Hand and Upper Extremity Therapy Program

The Occupational Therapy staff has created a Hand and Upper Extremity Therapy Program and treats inpatients and outpatients with various hand and upper extremity injuries, ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to brachial plexus injuries to tendon repairs. The diverse patient population and variety of diagnoses are the components that make hand rehabilitation at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center both exciting and challenging.

Integral to the success of any rehabilitation program is the communication between therapist and physician. While most referrals come from attending orthopedic and plastic surgeons, referrals are also received from other medical practitioners including rheumatologists, family practice specialists and neurologists.

The Hand and Upper Extremity Therapy Program staff provides assessment and treatment of individuals of all ages with diagnoses related to the upper quarter (hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder or multiple joints). These may include:

  • Fractures / dislocations
  • Flexor / extensor tendon injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Peripheral nerve injury / compression
  • Cumulative trauma disorders
  • Rheumatoid arthritis / inflammatory arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Amputations
  • Congenital anomalies
  • Lymphedema
  • Infections
  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Burns
  • Shoulder injuries / disorders


An in-depth evaluation by an Occupational Therapist skilled in hand and upper extremity therapy is the initial step to providing quality care. Therapeutic programs for diagnoses are established for each individual based on functional limitations. Treatments may include:

  • Wound care
  • Edema management
  • Therapeutic exercises to establish range of motion and strength
  • Sensory reeducation
  • Splinting for function / protection / correction of deformity
  • Patient and family education
  • Training in activities of daily living
  • Adaptive / assistive devices
  • Modalities (hot, cold, electrical)
  • Prosthetic evaluation / fit / training
  • Ergonomic modification


To make a referral or receive information about this program, please call (717) 531-8070.