Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy

Physical Therapy:

Physical Therapy is crucial for the success of nonoperative treatment in many of the foot and ankle problems we treat at Pittsburgh Foot and Hand Center. It is also critical for success after surgery to complement the surgical intervention.

At the Pittsburgh Foot & Hand Center, we have taken some of the more advanced tendon gliding, nerve gliding and motion protocols from hand therapy and applied them together with innovative surgical techniques and unique custom orthotics in order to create successful treatment programs for foot and ankle problems. And since 1987 we have developed and refined our therapy protocols for both surgical and nonsurgical treatment of foot and ankle disorders.

A good therapist and therapy unit is just as important as the protocol. That’s why we have developed a good working relationship with most of the top-notch physical therapy units in the Tri-state area. If needed, we can make a recommendation to a unit familiar with our protocols, or supply them with the protocols directly.

Communication between our office and a physical therapist is also important. We ask for an update from them at each office visit. They must fax it to us at (724)-933-3332 at least 2 days prior to your visit for the report to be entered in your electronic medical record. You may also bring a written copy to your office visit.

Occupational Therapy:

During Dr. Bowman’s hand surgery fellowship training at the Hand Rehabilitation Center in Philadelphia, he was exposed to the leading hand therapy unit in the world, where hand therapy was created. Since 1987, we have used these advanced hand therapy protocols to guide our patients and establish our care modules.

Hand therapy is provided by both Occupational therapists (OTs) and Physical Therapists (PTs), although most dedicated hand therapists are OTs. The highest certification that both PTs and OTs can obtain in hand therapy is the CHT, or Certification in Hand Therapy. This involves additional training in hand therapy, hands-on cases and experience, and a rigorous examination. For many of the complicated hand surgeries we perform, the services of a CHT are critical to achieving a good functional result. We encourage you to ask your therapist if they are a CHT or have extensive experience with your particular hand condition/surgery.

Note that we have developed a good working relationship with most of the top-notch hand therapy units in the Tri-state area. If needed, we can make a recommendation to a unit familiar with our protocols or supply them with the protocols.

Communication between us and your therapist is important. We ask for an update from them at each office visit. They must fax it to us at (724)-933-3332 at least 2 days prior to your visit for the report to be entered in your electronic medical record. You may also bring a written copy to your office visit.