News and Updates

Hand Therapy


What is It? Swan neck deformity is caused by abnormal stress on the volar plate, the ligament around the middle joint of the finger (PIP joint). The resulting shape of the finger looks similar to a swan's neck, which is how the condition got its name. What is it caused by? For a swan neck deformity to occur, abnormal stress must be put on the ligament around the PIP joint of the finger. The stress causes the ligament to loosen,...


February 27, 2020
What is It? A Boutonnière deformity is also known as a ‘central slip’ injury. This is because it involves injury to the central slip of the extensor tendon of the finger. This means the part of the tendon which straightens the middle joint of the finger has been injured (see figure 1). What is it caused by? A Boutonnière deformity is commonly caused by a forceful blow to the top side of a bent middle joint of a finger. It...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Injury

Scaphoid Fractures

October 25, 2019
The scaphoid is one of eight carpal bones in the wrist. It is a commonly fractured bone in the wrist, accounting for over 85% of all sport-related carpal bone fractures. Scaphoid fracture is particularly common in sports involving high impact injuries to the wrist. Young males and persons between 10 and 19 years of age are at highest risk for scaphoid fracture. When an injury occurs, pain (with or without swelling or bruising at the “thumb side” of the wrist) can...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Injury

Imaging for Diagnosis of Bony Injury in the Wrist

August 19, 2019
Diagnosing the cause of wrist pain is a challenge for hand therapists, surgeons and radiologists alike because of the small and complex anatomical structures involved within the wrist. There are 29 bones that together make up the hand and wrist. Advances in imaging modalities (e.g. X-rays, CT scanners and MR Imaging) have aided specialists in the diagnosis of a number of hand and wrist conditions including fractures. Current research has focussed on the sensitivity and specificity of the results obtained by...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Injury


July 1, 2019
Hand therapy is the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of hand and upper limb injuries. Hand therapy evolved from the need for clinicians with the skills, knowledge and experience to manage the challenging recovery of complex hand and upper extremity injuries. In New Zealand, hand therapists achieve a physiotherapy or occupational therapy degree prior to undertaking post graduate study in the hand and upper limb. A hand therapist will have undertaken a four year degree, a minimum of one year post graduate...
Filed under Hand Therapy


May 10, 2019
Many words in the English language are a part of common, everyday speech. On the other hand, injury jargon is often used by medical providers, sometimes without patients really understanding what words really mean. Below are some common terms used when discussing injury and what they mean, in plain English. TENDON A tendon is an cord of strong fibres located at each end of a muscle that attaches a muscle to bone. LIGAMENT A ligament is a fibrous connective tissue...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Injury


March 12, 2019
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively, leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (known as hyperglycaemia). Over the long-term high glucose levels are associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues. There are over 240,000 people in New Zealand who have...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Health


Regular exercise has many health benefits but when the body is put under load (e.g. by lifting weights, yoga poses or Pilates exercises) there is a risk of injury. The following are ideas for reducing stress on the wrist while still staying active: Warm Up Always warm up before working out to ensure the muscles and tendons are warm and ready to work. Warming up and stretching becomes even more important with age, as the tissues (muscle, tendons and ligaments) become...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Injury


January 10, 2019
The beginning of a new year and the resolutions people make to improve their health and fitness often sees an increase and surge in gym memberships. The sudden increase in physical activity experienced by the body and in particular the wrist and elbow region can in some instances lead to the development of tendon pain. Understanding and managing tendon pain is important to ensure your new year resolution to improve your health and fitness doesn’t end within the first few weeks...


October 19, 2018
A pilot study undertaken by the Merivale Hand Clinic in conjunction with Ram Chandru (Orthopaedic Hand and Wrist Surgeon) The extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) muscle plays an important role in wrist movement and also provides stability to the outer side of the wrist. ECU tendonitis is the result of inflammation of the ECU tendon. This condition is most common in non-athletes, however ECU injuries frequently occur in tennis, golf and the rugby codes. Raphael Nadal is probably the best known...
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