If you’ve ever sustained a burn on your hand, then you know just how uncomfortable and painful recovery can be, especially if you ended up with a good bit of scar tissue. Burns are very common injuries and can happen when we least expect them — while cooking, cleaning with chemicals, or starting a bonfire with the family on a summer night.
Thankfully, hand therapists at our clinic can help you to regain range of motion and flexibility in your hands after a burn. Call our clinic today to learn more about hand therapy for burns and scarring.
Types and causes of hand burns
Our skin has layers; the greater the degree of burn means more parts of the skin are injured and the burn is worse.
Burns are classified from least amount of damage (first-degree) to the most amount of damage (third and fourth-degree). When the burn affects the deeper layers of skin, it can become tighter and take longer to heal.
There are four types of hand burns: thermal, electrical, chemical, and burns from radiation.
Thermal burns are from contact with something very hot like fire, hot water, or grease. Electrical burns are from contact with electricity, such as when a child sticks a finger in a light socket.
Chemical burns are caused by contact with household or industrial chemicals. Radiation burns are caused by the sun, tanning booths, sunlamps or radiation therapy for cancer treatment.
Those who sustain burns on their hands may end up with a loss of movement and functionality, changes in appearance, or other complications. You might find that your quality of life has been significantly lowered and that you are unable to work at your jobs as you recuperate, or do the things you love.
Hand burns typically result in redness, painful inflammation, and swelling, infection, loss of skin, and/or loss of skin color. If not treated early, hand burns can lead to finger, thumb, and wrist tightness and scarring.
Fortunately, there is a solution to treating scars and burns with the help of hand therapy.
How can hand therapy help me recover from a burn?
The purpose of hand therapy for patients with scars or burns is to prevent contracture development, preserve as much functionality as possible, and maintain mobility so that they’re still able to lead full and active lives.
Depending on the severity of your burn, a hand therapist may make an orthosis to position your hand and will help with cleaning the wounds and applying bandages. As the burn heals, they’ll help to keep the scars from becoming too tight. Compression garments are often recommended to help control the scarring. Therapy will also include teaching the patient exercises to improve motion in the fingers and strength of the hand.
During your therapy sessions, you will get to work one-on-one with your therapist on things like pain reduction, edema reduction, range of motion, strength, coordination, and dexterity.
Everyone’s condition is unique and everyone’s goals are different – you and your hand therapist will decide together how to best meet your needs using a therapy plan that is catered towards your needs.
Together, you and your hand therapist will set goals that are most important to you. They will also design a home exercise program that you should perform at home as a supplement to the work that you will do in the clinic.
Let us help you on the road to recovery
The pain that comes with a burn injury on the hands can prevent you from doing the smallest tasks without experiencing discomfort and pain. If you have has scarring or burns that are compromising the use of your hands, hand therapy may offer relief.