The Hand Therapy Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital provides specialized occupational therapy for surgical and nonsurgical patients with upper extremity injuries or congenital conditions. 

The hand therapy team works to improve the upper extremity function of children.  Skills addressed may include movement, strength,  self care, play, sports or other activities.  

Catering to Children

Children have specific needs when it comes to therapy. Because children are still growing, splints must be readjusted or remade often. That is why our team includes a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) who practices in a pediatric setting and several pediatric Occupational Therapists (OT).

For children to participate in therapy during treatment sessions and at home, the therapy must be fun and engaging. Some fun hand therapies for children include:

  • Using a water gun or spray bottle
  • Playing with Playdoh
  • Making crafts, using scissors, etc.
  • Using Theraputty or weights
  • Crawling
  • Climbing
  • Participating in yoga 


Depending upon the condition, your child may begin therapy before surgery, after surgery or at other stages of rehabilitation.  Treatment options depend on your child’s age and condition. Options for treatment include:

  • Fabrication of custom splints/orthosis
  • Exercises or activities designed to increase functional movement and strength of the upper extremity
  • Activity modifications and education on adaptations for hand differences
  • Activity or sport specific training
  • Preoperative and postoperative testing to determine outcomes

Referral from a physician is required before treatment can begin.