18 Apr Occupational Therapy at Your Fingertips with Jeff Gandy
Originally published in the Williamson Herald –
With over 25 years of experience, Jeff Gandy, an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist at Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, is an expert in the field and has a passion for seeing patients succeed. Working directly with two on-site hand surgeons, Gandy helps patients recover from a variety of upper extremity conditions including rotator cuff tears, total shoulder replacements, fractures, amputations, tendon injuries and more.
“We create customized treatment plans to help our patients get back to what they love doing,” said Gandy. “As occupational therapists, we focus on more than just physical movement.”
Cognitive training is an important part of occupational therapy as sensory, visual, psychological and developmental aspects play a huge role in patient progress. Although occupational therapy is a diverse field, Gandy and his colleagues specialize in orthopaedics at Bone and Joint Institute.
Gandy starts seeing patients anywhere from three to five days after surgery and begins with an evaluation of a patient’s range of motion as well as nerve involvement in the injury. “We start by asking the patients what their goals are; we want them to have a vested interest,” said Gandy. “It’s a team effort to achieve the most optimal outcome.”
From home exercise programs and splint and wound care to soft tissue and joint mobilization, the occupational therapists at Bone and Joint Institute help patients return to their usual daily activities. Although some patients may not ever recover full range of motion, they can receive education on how to use adaptive equipment to make their lives easier. “We give them the resources they need to be independent,” said Gandy. “Being dependent on others can add stress, and we want to eliminate that stress.”
However, the role of an occupational therapist extends beyond the physical level. Orthopaedic injuries can often affect patients from a psychological side as well. “We try to be our patients’ biggest cheerleaders and supporters during the recovery process,” said Gandy. “We have the resources to connect them with a licensed counselor or psychologist if needed.” As we return to outdoor sports and activities with the warmer temperatures, Gandy offers a few tips to help you avoid hand, elbow and shoulder injuries while staying active this season during Occupational Therapy Month.
Even everyday spring activities can present an increased risk for hand and arm injuries, Gandy says. He encourages people to use caution around fishing hooks and to wear gloves when gardening. Unattended cuts and scrapes can easily get infected and lead to much larger issues. “If you do suffer from a cut or scrape, make sure to clean the wound thoroughly,” said Gandy. “Using hydrogen peroxide and changing the dressing one to two times daily can help prevent infection.”
Since a large portion of Gandy’s patients suffer from sports-related injuries, he offers some preventative measures athletes can take to stay active this spring. He suggests utilizing sliding protective devices for baseball and softball players while on the field. He also encourages golfers to perform gentle forearm stretches, while those playing tennis and pickleball should ensure they warm up adequately before playing.
When appropriate, your primary care or orthopedic physician can even refer you for a one-visit evaluation designed to help patients prevent injury before it occurs. Sessions can focus on a variety of topics such as posture, lifting education, activity modifications, specific bracing to support your joints, and kinesio taping techniques. A visit like this to an occupational therapist can be specifically tailored to the athlete so they can perform at their best. “The most important thing is to listen to your body,” said Gandy. “If you experience discomfort, do not keep repeating what you are doing.”
Consult a Physician
If you have an injury, seek medical attention sooner rather than later especially if the pain becomes more symptomatic. “I have seen multiple injuries that have gone too long without medical attention or therapy,” said Gandy. “When it gets to that point, it’s hard for them to heal correctly.” If you wait to consult a physician, you could miss out on a sports season, develop arthritis issues or even lose range of motion. The physicians and therapists at Bone and Joint Institute are experts in their fields and are available in-person or over the phone. “The fact that all of our surgeons and therapists specialize in specific areas is what makes this group so special,” said Gandy. “When you visit Bone and Joint Institute, you know you are in good hands.”
To setup your consultation today with Gandy or a member of the Bone and Joint Rehabilitation Services team, click here or call the clinic at (615) 791-2640.
Jeff Gandy, OTR/L, CHT, OTD, is a registered and licensed Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist for Bone and Joint Rehabilitation Services. Gandy received his Associates of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Nashville State Technical Institute in 1999, then went on to obtain his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Occupational Therapy from Belmont University in 2003. He has been working with upper extremity conditions and injuries since 2004 and is passionate about engaging his patients in the rehab process in order to gain the best outcome.