Get Your Spring Sports Tune-up

Among flowers blooming and birds singing, for many people the signs of spring include unearthing sporting equipment that was packed away for winter. Golf and tennis are among the most popular seasonal sports in our region, yet they also produce the most injuries in patients who tax muscles and tendons that were left unused in the cold weather.

Fortunately, Southampton Hospital’s Certified Hand Therapist Nikki DeMatteo can help. Anyone can schedule an initial evaluation of the upper extremity (shoulder, elbow, wrist, or hand) by calling (631) 726-8520. No prescription is required and the evaluation is covered by most insurance.

In addition to treating injuries, Ms. DeMatteo helps patients strengthen muscles to avoid injuries from their favorite physical activities. “Many sports injuries can be prevented or resolved if addressed early,” she says. “Unfortunately, many people wait until the pain is unbearable.”

For pre-existing issues with the upper extremity, patients should seek a prescription from their doctor for extended treatment. Occupational Therapy (OT), which includes hand therapy, focuses on task-oriented fine motor skills such as gripping a golf club or tennis racquet. “Physical therapy is different because the focus is on whole body movement such as running,” says Ms. DeMatteo.

An initial OT evaluation takes about one hour. Patients typically receive a doctor’s prescription for 6-12 weeks of OT treatment up to 3 times per week. Each session lasts 30-60 minutes, depending on the patient’s condition. Some patients benefit from orthotics that can relieve pressure on a compressed nerve or alleviate pain from arthritis. These pieces are custom fabricated by the OT team, right at Southampton Hospital.

Visits and custom orthotics are covered by most insurance. What are you waiting for? Schedule your evaluation today! Don’t forget to check the Occupational Therapy page of our website and our Facebook page for upcoming video tips for golfers and tennis players who want to get in shape for the season.