Text: Bjørnhild Fjeld / Photo: Tore Fjeld

If you have lost all or part of the hand function, many everyday tasks such as dressing and cooking quickly become very clumsy.

Physiotherapist Kristin Jahren is a new employee at OCH Orthopedi, after working for many years in the assistive technology company Cypromed.

She specializes in assistive devices for those who have developed unilateral paralysis, for example as a result of a stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy.

- After a stroke, it is important to get up to walk - but it is also important to regain hand function. In recent years, I have worked with various hand aids that can be used as part of rehabilitation, but also permanently in everyday life, says Jahren.

Bad hand affects quality of life

Over the years, she has met many stroke victims who have been frustrated by her poor hand function. There may be pain and spasms, and a feeling that one arm is just "in the way".

- There are actually some who say that it would have been better to amputate the arm, the physiotherapist says.

Jahren believes that many patients, and also doctors, are not aware that there are many good aids that can contribute to the hand function partially returning.

- There are, for example, orthoses that allow you to grip. There are also orthoses that use electricity to stimulate the nerves and thus the muscles. Such orthoses have been used for a long time to provide better gait function, but electric hand orthoses are relatively new in Norway, she says.

Kristin Jahren looks forward to lifting her new employer AND Orthopedics with increased competence also in the hand field.

- I think it is very exciting to work with the technical department, where there are many good professionals who are experts in the use of different materials. Recently, for example, we have had a thumb orthosis made of silicone, which we have "decorated" with a Liverpool logo.

In many cases, hand aids must also be specially made for each individual user, and then it is good to play on teams with creative orthopedic engineers.


Hand training in groups

When the pandemic is over, the physiotherapist wants to start group training for stroke victims, especially with regard to hand function.

- I have seen that systematic training of the hand function has a very good effect for the individual. Coming here to OCH to train with others will be both social and not least very useful to be able to master practical tasks in everyday life, Jahren believes.