Santa Rosa Orthopaedics’s team of certified hand therapists provide therapy to patients recovering from injury and surgery to the hand and upper extremities. This week their work is being celebrated as part of Hand Therapy Week.

Santa Rosa Orthoapedics recognizes Hand Therapy Week happening this year from June 5-11 – a week-long event set aside by the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) to raise awareness of the art and science of hand therapy. The organization also celebrates the exceptional work that the highly skilled team of SRO Certified Hand Therapists do for patients.

“SRO’s Hand Therapy program is unique in our area, as it is the only program in Northern California which has three full-time therapists who are all fully OTR/L, CHT credentialed,” explained orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Kau-Uwe Mazar. “Having this level of expertise to draw from gives our patients a clear advantage and an even greater chance of achieving optimal recovery.” The Hand Center at SRO is part of SRO Sports Medicine and rehabilitation Center, a state-of-the-art 10,000 sq. ft. facility equipped with specialized technology designed to enhance patient recovery and rehabilitation.

What is hand therapy?

Hand therapists are occupational or physical therapists who, through advanced study and experience, specialize in treating patients with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremity. Some may also have advanced certification as a certified hand therapist (CHT), as do all hand therapists who work for Santa Rosa Orthopaedics.

As certified hand therapists, these highly skilled professionals have the expertise to provide many non-operative interventions, employ preventative care strategies and support post-surgical rehabilitation. SRO’s CHTs routinely provide therapy for a wide variety of upper extremity disorders, everything from minor finger injuries to total joint replacements. Patients with chronic conditions including arthritis, or neurologic conditions such as a stroke also benefit significantly from hand therapy.

“SRO hand therapy specialists have the finely tuned expertise to help take patients through the recovery process for most every hand and upper extremity injury or repair,” explains Cynthia Syiek MA, OTR/L, CHT. “As certified hand therapists, our goal is to help each patient overcome the challenges associated with an injury so they can return to work and resume daily activities that are not only necessary but support quality of life.”

From PT to OT to CHT

A hand therapist is a healthcare professional who is originally trained as an occupational therapist or physical therapist and through advanced study and experience also specializes in treating individuals with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremity. To achieve CHT they undergo at least five years of practical experience, plus 4,000 hours of hand therapy practice focused on upper extremity rehabilitation. The work of a CHT often starts within days of an injury or following surgery and will continue after the patient returns to work and resumes a normal, productive lifestyle.

According to the ASHT the practice of hand therapy encompasses a range of aspects involving evaluation and treatment of injuries and conditions of the upper extremity including; shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. The practice of hand therapy uses many therapeutic interventions to help return a person to a higher level of function. It is a specialty that evolved from the need in the medical community for a trained therapist to manage the unique and challenging recovery of complex hand and upper extremity injuries.

A hand therapist can also provide consultation services in the workplace, training employees in healthy work habits.


SRO’s experienced clinical Occupational Therapy staff of professionals is made up of Jennifer Henshaw-Lefever, OTR/L, CHT, PA, Bruce Kolman, OTR/L, CHT and Cynthia Syiek MA, ORT/L, CHT. All are passionate about providing quality care for their patients. They work closely with both doctor and patient to ensure continuity in treatment and to support a positive rehabilitation process.

SRO Hand Therapy provides upper extremity (hand, wrist, and elbow) rehabilitation services designed to insure optimal restoration of function. The hand therapy team are all veterans in their field with specialized training and clinical expertise in hand and upper body therapy. They devise individualized evaluations and treatment programs for a wide range of acute, post-surgical and chronic conditions from carpal tunnel syndrome to complex post-surgical cases. To learn more, visit the SRO website or call 707-546-1922.