Hand Therapist

Hand therapists are occupational therapists who have specialised in the rehabilitation of the upper limb - from the shoulder to the hand. They treat people who have a condition which affects the hands, such as arthritis, and people who have hand injuries.

Hand therapists enable patients to regain as much hand function as possible, often teaching them how to perform certain actions again, especially if their injury is very serious and they have lost part of their fingers.

Each patient is briefly assessed and measured. The patient’s hand is gently massaged and specific exercises to improve hand function are practised. If necessary splints are made to support the hand or improve its function. Creativity and biomechanics are required for the making of these splints.

The hand is a very special organ which is easily injured, but can improve with the right care. The exact degree that a joint can move is measured before and after therapy, and this motivates patients to do even more work at home.

Hand therapists work with a large variety of people. Their patients are usually very grateful when hand function is improved, and they often become good friends. It is sometimes necessary for hand therapists to travel abroad to attend congresses and courses, where they get to know people from all over the world who share their passion.

Occupational therapy covers a large field, and hand therapists are easily able to find work locally and nternationally.

Personal Requirements

  • enjoy helping people
  • emotional stability
  • patience and perseverance
  • have empathy and a kind heart
  • good health and physical stamina
  • creative and have original ideas for problem-solving
  • practical and have manual dexterity


  • general hospitals and clinics
  • special schools for physically disabled children
  • homes for the aged
  • specialised units such as workmen’s rehabilitation units
  • self-employment, in own private practice

Getting Started

  • make appointments to talk to practising hand therapists and ask to observe them at work
  • try to get a vacation job working with an hand therapist - even if unpaid


Boston City Campus and Business College does not offer a programme that leads directly to this occupation. Please take a look at the related occupations below to see whether any of these appeal to you. Alternately, please send an email to taryn@boston.co.za and a Student Advisor will call you back.

Related Occupations

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