While they might seem small, hand injuries can play a huge roll in impacting someone's day-to-day routine, making everyday tasks difficult to achieve.
But the experts with Munson Healthcare's Hand Therapy team are here to help.
Heidi Biglin is an occupational therapist who specializes in hand therapy.
That includes caring for patients with injuries anywhere from the wrist on up to the shoulder.
As a certified hand therapist, Biglin works with her patients at Munson Outpatient Services in Interlochen to develop skills for everyday living.
“So in this clinic for example somebody comes in with a wrist fracture, some of the activities that they may have difficulty with might be pushing up from a chair, or keyboarding for a job, driving, holding their baby," said Biglin. "And those are the important meaningful tasks they then need help achieving.”
She wants her patients to meet their goals of getting back to life the way it was before their injury or surgical intervention.
“That is everything to them," Biglin said. "That is the most important thing. Quality of life is huge. Without quality of life, what’s left?”
And it means a lot to her too.
“Seeing a patient go from A-B is motivation for me and for them.”
Barb Wilson first started having issues with her shoulder two years ago, following a skiing accident.
“I had a very serious injury, the doctor was even surprised that I recovered as well as I did," Wilson said.
She's back in therapy now for her other shoulder, but this injury is from overuse.
Stretching, heating techniques, and basic function exercises are just a few of the things Biglin has been working on with Wilson for the last few months.
“I mean when I started I couldn’t do anything functional," Wilson said. "I could barely dress myself, wash my hair, and kind of anything like that. Now I can do all of the self-care, I’m grocery shopping again, I’m back to my volunteer work. Different things like that.”
She says the connection she's developed with Biglin during the therapy has played a huge roll in her progress.
“She’ll step back and work through the problem with me, work through whatever is causing the pain so we can make forward movement after that.”
“Within a small community such as this you really get to know not only just the patient but you also get a feel for their family, what they’re doing at home, what roll they play in the community," Biglin said. "So I think it’s bigger than just one individual needing therapy.”
Wilson has several goals before summer arrives.
She's hoping to get back to being active in the water with swimming and kayaking, and of course to be pain free.
“It’s very hard when you’ve been very active, to find yourself in that position where you can’t really do what you need to do or want to do and it’s very good to be back and independent again, being able to volunteer and get back to work.”
Everyone has unique needs when it comes to treatment plans.
Those individual plans can include things like activities for daily living, arthritis education and intervention, as well as pain control and strengthening, just to name a few.
For a list of locations for hand injury recovery offered by Munson Healthcare, click here.