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What is Hand Therapy?

Hand therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb, which includes the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle. It is a merging of occupational and physical therapy theory and practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the structure of the upper limb with function and activity. Using specialized skills in assessment, planning and treatment, hand therapists provide therapeutic interventions to prevent dysfunction, restore function and/or reverse the progression of pathology of the upper limb in order to enhance an individual’s ability to execute tasks and to participate fully in life situations. (from

What is a Certified Hand Therapist?

A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who has a minimum of five years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, the Certified Hand Therapist has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation. Because of changes in the profession, every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years. (from

What is our philosophy?

Our goal is to work with you and your surgeon to develop a treatment plan that works for you. Whether we’re helping you to recover from an injury that you and your physician are treating non-operatively or working with you to regain functional motion after your surgical procedure, we will be with you every step of the way. Being located in the same office space allows us to have a direct line of communication with your surgeon so that we can more easily clarify questions, offer suggestions or express concerns if they arise. In short, it helps to make the continuity of care more seamless. If for some reason you are unable to travel to see us, we are always available to discuss your rehabilitation with a therapist closer to you. Regardless of the situation, we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome.

Who are we?

Gerardo Huerta Certified Hand Therapist Gerardo Huerta was born and raised in San Antonio, TX.  He graduated from Colorado State University in 1999 with a bachelors of science in Occupational Therapy and a minor in Spanish.  He has been an Occupational Therapist for 19 years and a Certified Hand Therapist since 2006.  He is very active in the local "hand therapy" community and has served as a guest lecturer for the Occupational Therapy School here at UTHSCA for the past 4 years.

Abel Cavazos Certified Hand Therapist Abel Cavazos was born in Corpus Christi, TX. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from The University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio and has been a licensed therapist for 20 years.  Abel is a registered OTR with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and has been a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) since 2005. He is also a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists.

Common Protocols and Milestones

Each of our treatment protocols is tailored for each of our patients, taking into consideration surgeon recommendations and patient factors.  Please discuss any questions with your surgeon or Certified Hand Therapist before interpreting or using the following.

After isolated wrist, forearm or elbow injury or surgery – At two weeks after surgery or injury, patients are expected to be able to make a complete fist.

After carpal tunnel release or trigger finger release – At one week after surgery, patients are expected to be able to make a complete fist.

A common exercise protocol for finger motion is the “Six-Pack Exercise.”  Click here for a copy.