Hand Therapy
hand therapy session


Hand physical therapy is beneficial to treat a variety of neurological and arthritic conditions. The following are a few conditions that benefit from physical therapy. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a passageway through the wrist carrying tendons and one of the hand’s major nerves. Pressure may build up within the tunnel because of disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis), injury, fluid retention during pregnancy, overuse, or repetitive motions. The resulting pressure on the nerve within the tunnel causes a tingling sensation in the hand, often accompanied by numbness, aching, and impaired hand function. This is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. 

In some cases, splinting of the hand and anti-inflammatory medications will relieve the problem. If this doesn’t work, however, surgery may be required. 

In the operation, the surgeon makes an incision from the middle of the palm to the wrist. He or she will then cut the tissue that’s pressing on the nerve, in order to release the pressure. A large dressing and splint is used after surgery to restrict motion and promote healing. The scar will gradually fade and become barely visible. 

The results of the surgery will depend in part on how long the condition has existed and how much damage has been done to the nerve. For that reason, it’s a good idea to see a physical therapist early if you think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammation of the joints, is a disabling disease that can affect the appearance and the function of the hands and other parts of the body. It often deforms finger joints and forces the fingers into a bent position that hampers movement. 

Disabilities caused by rheumatoid arthritis can often be managed without surgery – for example, by wearing special splints or using physical therapy to strengthen weakened areas. 

Recovery and Rehabilitation
Since the hand is a very sensitive part of the body, you may have mild to severe pain following surgery. How long your hand must remain immobilized and how quickly you resume your normal activities depends on the type and extent of surgery and how fast you heal. 

To enhance your recovery and give you the fullest possible use of your hand, your surgeon may recommend a course of physical therapy under the direction of a trained hand therapist. Your therapy may include hand exercises, heat and massage therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, splinting, traction, and special wrappings to control swelling. Keep in mind that surgery is just the foundation for recovery. It’s crucial that you follow the therapist’s instructions and complete the entire course of therapy if you want to regain the maximum use of your hand. 

Body Mechanics Physical Therapy has a highly trained certified Hand Therapist on staff to assist in your needs for hand therapy. 

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Cole Smith, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Specialty: Orthopedic Conditions, Post-Operative Rehabilitation, Gait and Balance

  • University of North Georgia 2022 
  • GPT Start Year: 2022

Lydia Gailey, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Specialty: Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation, Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, Low Back Pain


  • University of North Georgia 2015
  • 7 years experience
  • GPT Start Year: 2017

Nicole Burkett, PT

Physical Therapist

Specialty: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and Low Back Pain, Cervical Pain, Balance Training

  • University of North Georgia 1997
  • 25 Years Experience
  • GPT Start Year: 2014

Sarah Edwards, PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant

Specialty: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction 

Bio: Sarah has been with Gainesville Physical Therapy since 2004. She grew up in Athens, GA and graduated from Athens Technical College in 2004. She currently lives in Jefferson, GA with her two children and dogs. Sarah actively participates with cub scouts and enjoys outdoor activities like camping, hiking and swimming. Specialties include treatment of sacroiliac joint dysfunction and the restorative disc program.

Ree Hyatt, PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant

Specialty: Manual Hand Therapy 

Bio: Ree has been involved in physical therapy for over 36 years. He worked as a physical therapy specialist in the U.S. Army from 1977 to 1980. He also worked as a technician in acute care at Lanier Park Hospital from 1980-1987. Ree has been at Gainesville Physical Therapy since 1987. In 2004, he got his Associates Degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) at Athens Technical College. He specializes in hand treatment and the custom fabrication splints.

Darren Hilchie, PT

Physical Therapist

Specialty: Shoulder Rehabilitation, Therapy of the Knee, Manual Therapy

Bio: Darren has been with Gainesville Physical Therapy for 15 years. He graduated from North Georgia College and State University in 2007 as a physical therapist. Darren practiced Exercise Physiology for 5 years in the US and Canada before returning to school to become a physical therapist.

  • North Georgia College and State University 2007
  • 15 Years of Experience
  • GPT Start Year: 2007

Kristy Basinger, PT, CHT

Physical Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist

Specialty: Certified Hand Therapy, Manual Therapy, Post-Operative Spine Rehabilitation

Bio: Kristy Basinger, PT, CHT has practiced physical therapy in Gainesville since 1995. Her clinical specialties include hand therapy, orthopedic manual therapy, and her favorite modality is dry needling.

  • St. Louis University 1995
  • 27 Years Experience
  • GPT Start Year: 1995

Joanne Hamilton, PT

Co-Director & Physical Therapist

Specialty: Industrial Rehabilitation, Arthritis Education, Manual Therapy

Bio: Joanne Hamilton, PT is a Clinical Co-Director of Gainesville Physical Therapy, and has given national presentations on various topics, including Functional Capacity Evaluations, Validity Testing, Management of Injured Workers, and Work Site Assessments.

  • West Virginia University 1978
  • 44 years experience
  • GPT Start Year: 1986

Jeff Skorput, PT

Co-Director & Physical Therapist

Specialty: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction & Low Back Pain, Total Joint Rehabilitation, Manual Therapy

Bio: Jeff Skorput, PT joined Gainesville Physical Therapy in 1987. He completed his certificate program in Orthopedic Physical Therapy in 1984. He teaches continuing education courses on the topic of Lumbar Spine and Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Evaluation and Treatment. 

  • University of Vermont 1977
  • 45 Years of Experience
  • GPT Start Year: 1987

Vicki Sims, PT, CHT

Co-Director, Physical Therapist, & Certified Hand Therapist

Specialty: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction & Low Back Pain, Hand Therapy, Manual Therapy

Bio: Vicki Sims, PT, CHT is a Clinical Co-Director of Gainesville Physical Therapy. Vicki has helped pioneer diagnosis and treatment for Sacroiliac Dysfunction since 1985. She is the co-author of four clinical papers on the sacroiliac joint, and author of “The Definitive Book on the Treatment of SI Joint Dysfunction.” 

  • Georgia State University 1976
  • 46 Years Experience 
  • GPT Start Year: 1986