From the moment we wake up until we go to bed, our hands play a vital role in our daily lives. Often, we underestimate the importance of these valuable limbs until we are faced with an injury that can severely affect our quality of life. Injuries and conditions affecting the hands and wrists can be debilitating, but the good news is that telerehabilitation is opening new doors for the recovery and strengthening of these crucial areas of our body.
In the complex system that forms the wrist and hand, there are a total of 29 bones, with 19 of them located in the hand and fingers, 8 in the wrist and 2 in the forearm. Despite their intricate structure, these parts of the body have limited protection compared to other areas, making them more susceptible to fractures and injuries. Falls, blows and accidents are common causes of wrist and hand injuries, as we instinctively try to protect them from impact.
However, it is not only accidents that are a concern. Overuse and repeated movements can also have a negative impact on the health of the hand and wrist, leading to conditions such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. These ailments can affect the mobility, strength and function of our hands, which in turn limits our ability to carry out basic daily tasks.
It is in this context that telerehabilitation is making a significant difference in the way we approach and treat hand and wrist injuries and conditions. One of the latest innovations in this field is real-time motion tracking technology, which allows for accurate monitoring and effective therapy without the need for constant visits to a rehabilitation centre.
Physiotherapists together with occupational therapists have a fundamental role to play in rehabilitating the structure and functionality of this important body segment. The hand’s main function is the grip, which is essential to prevent falls due to imbalance and instability. Alterations in the functionality of the hand have been related to aspects such as a reduction in joint range of motion, a decrease in grip strength, pain with resisted movements and other factors related to significant participation in activities of daily living.
The physical and functional rehabilitation of the different pathologies that occur in this part of the body must include different levels and systems, including the musculoskeletal system, which is responsible for maintaining the structure of its tissues in order to maintain functionality. In this aspect, different functions that contribute to the maintenance of adequate independence and autonomy of the patient must be analysed: (i) the dexterity or coordination of finger movements, (ii) the muscular strength of the hand and gripper, (ii) the range of movement of the joints of the hand with greater involvement in the performance of activities of daily living, and (iv) the degree of pain and other sensory aspects.
ReHub, is an example of how technology is advancing and can be a great ally for upper limb injuries. Our technology uses the camera to track hand movement with amazing accuracy. Incorporating a total of 42 detection points on the hand, it can assess and track the evolution of hand movement, providing valuable data for rehabilitation professionals.
The benefits of this technology are manifold. It allows therapists to customise treatment plans more precisely, monitor patients’ progress in real time and adjust therapies as needed. In addition, telerehabilitation with motion tracking technology eliminates the need to constantly travel to a rehabilitation centre, which is especially beneficial for those who live in remote areas or have difficulty getting around.
In conclusion, technologically advanced telerehabilitation, such as ReHub, is revolutionising the way we treat hand and wrist injuries and conditions. With the ability to monitor and improve actual hand movement, we are opening up a new world of possibilities for the recovery and strengthening of these vital parts of our body. It is no longer necessary to face long periods of pain and disability when telerehabilitation is within our reach, providing us with a more effective and convenient way to care for our hands and improve our quality of life.
(1) Chapter included in the book: Hand therapy based on reasoning and clinical practice. Raquel Cantero Téllez (coord.) Seville: Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, 2020. ISBN 978-84-7993-361-6. Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10334/5442
(2) Bear Lehman J. Hand Rehabilitation in Occupational Therapy [Internet]. Rehabilitación de la mano en terapia ocupacional. Routledge; 2012. Disponible en: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780203056455