By Nicole Torres, Occupational Therapist
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a form of arthritis that can be found in the joints of the hand and wrist due to joint degeneration and cartilage break down. The loss of cushion in the small joints of the hand can lead to pain, decreased range of motion, and decreased functional use of the hands.
Joint protection strategies and activity modifications can help to protect and reduce the stress placed on the joints of the hand during daily activities.
A few joint protection techniques include:
-Using larger and stronger joints when possible
-Use joints like the elbow when carrying groceries or bags
-Use two hands instead of one when lifting or carrying to distribute weight
-Modify current tools
-Use built up handles to decrease the amount of force and grip required
-Use a jar or bottle opener when available
-Balance rest and activity
-Stop activities before the point of pain
-Alternate between heavy and light activities
In addition to these joint protection strategies and activity modifications, an occupational therapist can work with you to help improve your joint mechanics and increase functional use of your hands.
Source: Beasley, J. (2012). (Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of Hand Therapy; 25: 163-72.
Nicole Torres is an Occupational Therapist (OT) who joined Tulsa Bone & Joint Associates’ hand therapy team in November 2021. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Northeastern State University. Nicole completed fieldwork in a variety of settings. Her exposure in outpatient orthopedics is where her passion for hand therapy began. She enjoys learning more about upper extremity rehabilitation and will sit for the Certified Hand Therapy exam when she is eligible in 2024!
Nicole and her husband, Michael, have a dog and a cat who keep them active. They enjoy traveling, visiting national parks, and spending time with their families.
To schedule an occupational therapy appointment, call (918) 392-1482.
Megan Burkdoll is another occupational therapist on our hand therapy team. Megan was born and raised in Broken Arrow. Megan is a graduate of Bishop Kelley High School – Go Comets! Megan received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She has been specializing in treatment of the upper extremity for the past 4 years and is studying for her specialty certification. Megan joined the hand therapy team at Tulsa Bone & Joint in 2018.
Megan is also the Vice President of the Oklahoma Occupational Therapy Association (OKOTA). Serving as a voting member of the OKOTA executive board for the past 5 years, she has been involved with areas such as legislative advocacy, policy change, continuing education, development, and strategic planning. OKOTA is affiliated with the national organization, known as the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
Megan and her husband, Alex, have two dogs who keep them on their toes. She enjoys spending any opportunity she can with her family and friends.
Megan wrote a helpful blog post for those who transitioned to a home office during COVID, which you can read here.
Thanks for all you do to help our patients move their lives forward, Megan! #OTMonth
April is OT Month, and we’re taking this opportunity to highlight our amazing Occupational Therapy team. Meet Molly Cook, hand therapist!
Molly attended Oklahoma State University for undergraduate studies. Molly graduated OU Health Sciences Center in 2012 with a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. Molly has been working as a hand therapist for 8.5 years. She became a Certified Hand Therapist in 2017, and Molly has been with Tulsa Bone & Joint Associates for 2 years.
Molly is skilled in static and dynamic splinting. If you’ve ever experienced pain at the base of your thumb, be sure to check out this blog post, “What is Causing Pain at the Base of My Thumb?” written by Molly.
When not working, Molly enjoys spending time gardening or playing outside with her husband and 2 year old daughter.
April is Occupational Therapy Month, and we are highlighting our amazing OT team at Tulsa Bone & Joint!
Angela Averill is a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA) who joined Tulsa Bone and Joint Hand Therapy in June of 2017. Angela’s role in hand therapy includes assisting OTs with patient care and following the plan of care established by the Occupational Therapist. Angela is able to work with patients one-on-one and watch their improvements weekly. Angela works directly with four great Occupational Therapists who trust her clinical judgement.
Angela graduated from Brown Mackie College in fall of 2011 with an Associate in Applied Science Degree and was immediately employed in a Hand Therapy setting after passing her State Certification Occupation Therapy Assistant Licensing exam. Angela spent most of her career in Hand Therapy, but also has experience in LTAC, SNF, Home Health and Inpatient Rehab care. Angela is also certified in ASTYM, which is a safe, effective, and non-evasive soft tissue therapy.
Angela is originally from Montana and moved to Broken Arrow in 2003 to attend RHEMA Bible Training Center. Angela enjoys spending time with her grandkids (and her kids…of course!), attending church, fishing/boating and exercising with her husband. What Angela loves most about her career is that she is able to watch patients improve from start of care to finish.
Thanks for all you do to help our patients move their lives forward, Angela!