Private practice; Part time lecturer, department of Occupational Therapy, University of Pretoria
Years of experience in HT: 35.
Main areas in HT you’ve been working in:
Trauma (nerve and tendon injuries, fractures, amputations, multiple injuries); Arthritic conditions; Dupuytrens disease, Focal dystonia, congenital conditions; arthroplasties.
Main subjects that you’ve presented in a meeting?
The severely injured hand
Teaching hand therapy on a post-graduate level
Low Cost activities and tools in hand therapy
Management of brachial plexus injuries
Low profile dynamic splinting
Management of congenital deformities.
Please, tell us more about you…
What was your first encounter with hand therapy?
When I started working in the Plastic Surgery and Burns Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the UK in 1980. I had had general orthopaedic experience in South Africa and had worked in a spinal unit in the Netherlands and then I arrived in the UK where my physiotherapy colleague taught me all she knew about hand therapy.
Wow! I loved the challenges and I soon realized that I had found my niche!
What is the most important training you’ve had and where was it? Could you tell us some anecdotes about that?
The most important training was my initial training, as this was where my love for hand patients and my passion for the field were first cultivated.
Initially I was very ‘green’ and therefore I made lots of mistakes but I had a wonderful hand rehabilitation team whom I worked with, who did not dwell on my mistakes, but rather nudged me in the correct direction.
In your opinion which is the book you think a hand therapist needs to have near her bed?
One of the latest editions of the IFSSH’s e’zine (on a tablet!).
This electronic publication has short articles which have been written by experts in the field. They are current and reflect the latest thinking in many different fields of hand rehabilitation.
Which article do you think is the most essential for a hand therapist to read? What did you find in this article that you want to share?
“Proprioception of the Wrist Joint: A review of Current Concepts and Possible Implications on Rehabilitation of the Wrist” by Elizabeth Hagert (J HAND THER 2010;23:2 -17).
Although this article is already 5 years old, it explains and clarifies many aspects of wrist joint proprioception, which is extremely useful for any hand therapist who treats patients with wrist injuries. I still read parts of this article whenever I am confronted with patients with specific wrist problems.
Has your professional practice changed over the years? How did it use to be and how is it now?
Yes, initially a large proportion of my work was hand trauma, especially patients who were injured at work and had sustained really serious injuries to their hands. More than 60% of my patients were male.
I now see more patients with degenerative disease of the hand and many more female patients come for therapy.
In which projects are you involved in this moment?
- I supervise two Masters students who are doing research in two very different fields of hand therapy. I am really excited by their work and love working with them.
- I also teach a post-graduate Diploma in Hand Therapy at the University of Pretoria every second year, which keeps me very busy and on my toes. I am constantly involved in projects that enhance their understanding and appreciation of the hand and its rehabilitation.
- Since we are making much more use of E-learning opportunities, I have to adapt my style of teaching to match current trends.
- One of the surgeons I work with has started using a different surgical technique for joint arthroplasty of the 1st CMC joint, so I am monitoring the progress of the patients in order to compare their results with patients treated with the “old technique”.
- I am also always looking for inexpensive and useful ways of making hand therapy accessible to patients who cannot afford hi-tech, expensive therapy. These include tools and equipment which they can make themselves and use at home. This is probably due to my occupational therapy background!
In your opinion which are the next highlights for HT in the coming years?
I think that very specific and “rigid” treatment protocols are going to be discarded in favour of a treatment approach, which is based on sound knowledge of Anatomy, Biomechanics and Pathophysiology. Therapists will be expected to display good clinical reasoning and make sure the patients in their care receive the most appropriate and most beneficial treatment.
If you want to know even more about Corrianne, take a look at her website!