You’ve just had surgery at OSMS and the doctor says “Everything went great! We’ll set you up for some occupational therapy.” You think, Okay. Great. But what exactly is occupational therapy?

What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?
Occupational therapy helps patients develop, recover, improve, and maintain skills needed for daily living through the utilization of therapeutic activities, exercises, stretches, splinting and activity modifications. Examples may include helping a patient regain the range of motion and strength to complete clothing management such as buttoning and zipping after hand surgery or restoring the ability to operate a machine at work following an upper extremity injury.

An Occupational Therapist will:

  • Educate people on how to prevent and avoid injuries.
  • Educate people about the healing process.
  • Assist people with improving their ability to perform daily activities.
  • Play a very important role in returning patients to independence.

Occupational therapists have a holistic perspective and tend to specialize in treating the upper extremity in an orthopedic setting. Many occupational therapists in outpatient orthopedics will become a certified hand therapist (CHT). This designates them as a specialist in evaluating and treating complex upper extremity conditions such as flexor and extensor tendon repairs, wrist fractures, and crush injuries.

What is Occupational Therapy like at OSMS?
The occupational therapist is mainly involved with treating an upper extremity injury that needs therapy to restore function and fine motor control associated with it.

“Getting patients back to the life they love means getting them back to doing things others may take for granted, like brushing their teeth, dressing, making a meal for themselves or using their hand to write,” says Jen Taber, Occupational Therapist at Advanced Physical Therapy who works with OSMS in their Green Bay clinic. “The looks on their faces when they can once again accomplish those tasks is priceless. It’s a great feeling for all of us!”

“I appreciate the close working relationships I have with our occupational therapists,” says Dr. Ben Zellner, Orthopedic Hand-to-Shoulder Specialist at OSMS. “They are able to see patients often immediately following their surgeries and/or doctor’s appointments, which helps us provide seamless care that is convenient for the patient. We count on our therapists to keep us updated on our patients’ progress. They are, no doubt, an integral part of our patient care plan.”

Because OSMS focuses on the best care for each situation, occupational therapy is also used as a conservative option to manage patients with pain or injuries before making the decision to have surgery.

At OSMS, we, and the occupational therapists we partner with, are dedicated to getting you back to the life you love.