Certified Hand Therapists

Aristotle said, “The hand is the tool of tools.”

We want to recognize our UofL Health – Frazier Rehabilitation Institute certified hand therapists who help to keep our hands in good working order.

Hands are critical to the important roles in our lives. The hand is a very complex structure of the body, and we often take it and all that it can do for granted.

Without conscious thought or planning, our hands allow us to adapt grip to open a tight jar or to pick up a foam cup without crushing it. They help us thread a needle, braid hair, peel an orange and play a guitar. When an injury occurs, these amazing and complex parts of us need help to return to what makes our lives meaningful.

Any loss of function to our hands through injury or accident may have a devastating effect on our lives. Hand therapists work to maximize function and, by doing so, restore quality of life.

The goal of the hand therapist is to identify what is most important to individuals and work to restore the functionality of our hands to allow this to happen. They treat patients who have needs for conservative intervention, such as providing education on joint protection or adaptive equipment for patients who have arthritis. They also treat patients after operations like carpal tunnel release or after very complex surgeries, like having a toe transferred to replace a thumb that was lost through traumatic amputation.

The hand therapists at Frazier Rehab Institute offer:

  • Evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic hand injuries
  • Customized programs for strengthening the range of motion and flexibility
  • Scar management and swelling control
  • Wound care
  • Injury prevention educational programs for employers
  • Static orthoses (devices that stabilize or protect a joint) and dynamic orthoses (devices that increase motion or function in a joint) that are custom or prefabricated for the finger, hand, wrist and elbow
  • Prefabricated braces
  • Adaptive equipment to improve functional performance

A certified hand therapist (CHT) is an occupational or physical therapist with at least three years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more of direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, a CHT has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in rehabilitation of the upper quarter of the body. Our hand therapists also specialize in advanced orthotics fabrication.

With the recent acquisition of Kleinert and Kutz Hand Care, Frazier Rehab Institute patients now have access to five UofL Health – Frazier Rehab Institute – Hand Therapy outpatient locations providing care by CHTs. Click here for a list of hand therapy locations.

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Ashley Emrich, CHT

Ashley Emrich, CHT, is the manager of the outpatient UofL Health – Frazier Rehab Institute - Hand Therapy centers and the clinical manager of UofL Health – Kleinert Kutz Hand Care. She has more than 23 years of experience treating patients with complex hand injuries. Ashley earned her bachelor’s degree at Centre College and her master’s degree at Eastern Kentucky University. She became a certified hand therapist (CHT) in 2007.

All posts by Ashley Emrich, CHT
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