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.
Alecia Vaughn is an Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist who joined Tulsa Bone & Joint Associates in January 2021. Our hand team is continually growing, and Alecia is helping us meet the ongoing need to provide excellent patient care through therapy services.
Alecia grew up in Sand Springs, Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She attended occupational therapy school at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She received the Rebecca I. Estes scholastic achievement award for graduating #1 in her class. Before coming to Tulsa Bone & Joint, Alecia worked in Dallas, TX in private practice for two hand surgeons for 3.5 years.
Alecia and her husband, Bryan Vaughn, moved to Tulsa to be close to her family. They enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or going on long walks down Riverside with their dog, Brodie. Alecia enjoys exercising, staying active, eating Mexican food, and traveling. Hand therapy is her passion. She loves that she has the opportunity to help people every day and get them back to doing the things that they love.
We’re so glad you’re here, Alecia!
By Megan Burkdoll, OT
In the midst of this pandemic, have you transitioned from your work office to your work-at-home office? Did you feel prepared for this transition, or are you still trying to get comfortable in your home office?
As the months tick by, maybe you have started to notice the toll that your new workstation has taken on your body. The once tiny twinge of pain in your elbows has since turned into a nagging pain or near constant “funny bone” sensation. Maybe that pain in your elbows and wrists has led to a tingling in your fingers.
These sensations are not something that you should let linger and grow. Instead, these sensations are red flags from your body that are begging you to make a change. Your body is made of a network of nerves that send information about your environment to the brain. These nerves branch from the spinal cord and can become entrapped, causing damage over time. As symptoms progress, you may start to notice numbness, tingling, and weakness that make it difficult to perform work, household chores, or leisure activities. You may become hesitant to participate in activities due to fear of dropping items from your hands.
Nerves can become irritated or undergo damage by repetitive movements, sustained positions, trauma, tight muscles, scar tissue, or swelling. These symptoms are common with conditions known as carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome.
Repetitive use may include activities such as frequent typing or lifting. Resting your arms on the edge of the desk or sleeping with the elbows bent are two common examples of sustained positioning, which often lead to nerve irritation.
Although we commonly associate carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome with people who spend a significant amount of time at a desk, many highly active people are also at risk for developing these conditions. We also see these conditions in nurses, hair stylists, mechanics, gym buffs, or even the new mom who experienced increased swelling in her hands during pregnancy.
If you notice signs of pain, numbness, tingling, or changes in the temperature of your fingers, it is best to seek treatment early. Early intervention or “conservative management” may reverse symptoms and eliminate need for a surgical approach.
Tulsa Bone and Joint has a team of Occupational Therapists on site at both the Tulsa and Owasso locations. Our occupational therapy team will perform a detailed assessment that takes into account your lifestyle, habits, routines, and your personal goals. They address your personal factors, analyze your activities, and provide a uniquely targeted program of activity modifications, ergonomic adjustments, and exercises for symptom management. As always, we continue to serve with excellence and are determined to keep moving life forward!
If you are interested in scheduling an evaluation with our occupational therapy team, give us a call at 918-392-1552.
Tulsa Bone & Joint has named Kyle Knapp as Rehabilitation Director. Kyle will be overseeing physical therapy and occupational therapy at all of our locations: Tulsa, Bartlesville, Owasso and Sand Springs.
Kyle has been with Tulsa Bone & Joint as a physical therapist since 2004. Kyle attended PT school at the University of Oklahoma. He serves as our Clinical Education Coordinator for TBJA and was previously named Clinical Instructor of the Year by the Oklahoma Physical Therapy Association. He is passionate about teaching others in a clinical setting and also attending and teaching continuing education courses.
Kyle is a board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and Sportsmetrics trained for ACL injury prevention and return to sports. Kyle is also trained in dry needling, IASTM, spinal mobilization and manipulation, Rock Tape, Sahrmann, Mulligan, McKenzie, neural mobilization, sports specific training, and diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions of the spine and extremities.
In addition to all that, Kyle speaks Spanish! Kyle is married with three kids and an avid trail runner. He enjoys coaching and watching soccer and traveling.
Among many other duties, Kyle is helping Physical Therapy with the transition to their new space at the main campus in Tulsa. Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy will open in its new space in the 4800 building (previously Union Pines) on Monday, Oct. 12.
Megan Burkdoll was recently named Vice President of the Oklahoma Occupational Therapy Association (OKOTA).
Megan is one of our occupational therapists working in the hand therapy department at our Tulsa campus.
She has been serving our patients at Tulsa Bone and Joint for two years. In addition to treating patients on campus, she has been actively involved in the Oklahoma Occupational Therapy Association (OKOTA) and has served as a voting member of the executive board for the past four years. Practitioners across the state have recently elected her to serve in the role of Vice President of the state association. OKOTA addresses the interests and concerns of occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants who serve in our communities throughout the state. OKOTA is involved in a variety of areas including, but not limited to legislative advocacy, policy changes, networking, and continuing education to ensure practitioners are able to provide excellent services to patients in all settings. As the Vice President, Megan will serve as a voting member of the executive board for a two-year term. She will oversee the strategic plan and leadership development for the organization, while also serving as a liaison between board members and committee members. Oklahoma Occupational Therapy Association is in affiliation with the national organization, known as the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
Join us in congratulating Megan in her new role with OKOTA!
OKOTA Purpose Statement: “The purpose of OKOTA is to promote and improve the practice, study, research, and dissemination of knowledge of occupational therapy in the state of Oklahoma.”