About Elamrie van der Merwe - Hand Therapist in Pretoria

Hand Therapy in Pretoria

Our private practice in Garsfontein, Pretoria East consults and treats various types of hand injuries. Our therapist is a qualified Occupational Therapist with a postgraduate qualification in hand therapy. We have a special interest in helping patients relieve their hand pain.

Hand, wrist, finger and thumb pain or injury, can dramatically limit and impair everything you do on a daily basis. You will most likely only realise how important your hands are when you have pain or difficulty using them. As a hand therapist we aim to improve your pain and get you back to normal as soon as possible.

What does Hand Therapy involve?

Hand Therapy is a specialised field and with years of experience we can certainly solve any problem you might have. We customise your treatment to suit your individual needs. As a result we can assist in many ways from improving your pain when playing sport or to help you overcome the difficulties you might have with writing and doing administrative tasks. The Hand Therapist will guide you through the process until you reach optimal function again.

We welcome any and all cases from repetitive strain injuries, fractures, dislocations, tendon injuries and even nerve entrapments or nerve injuries.

Our therapist uses a multitude of different treatment methods including splinting, strapping and support bracing, exercises, strength training, TENS, mirror box therapy, passive mobilisation as well as task specific training and adaptations or ergonomic design. We regularly attend CPD (Continuous Professional Development) accredited courses and workshops to stay on top of the latest treatment approaches. In this way we improve our training in all therapeutic modalities. Furthermore, we are registered with the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) and strive to give the best possible treatment to all our patients.

Elmarie van der MerweHand Therapist
I am an Occupational Therapist that studied at Stellenbosch University and graduated in 2011.

I started my journey as a hand therapist when I was placed at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic hospital in their specialised hand unit for my community service year. From day one I fell in love with treating hand injuries and knew that it was my destiny. I remained in the hands unit for 4 years gaining valuable experience in treating any and all the different injuries and hand problems imaginable.

In 2015 I obtained my Post Graduate Diploma in Hand Therapy from The University of Pretoria and became part of an elite group of specialised hand therapists in South Africa. I have a passion for helping people with hand and wrist pain and assisting them to reach full function after trauma or injuries.

I pride myself in being able to assess and treat the origin of a problem and not merely just the symptoms. I strongly believe that you get excellent results when you treat people with sympathy, care and respect. Trusting your therapist and knowing that they will provide you with the best possible care is the foundation of a powerful therapeutic partnership.

I challenge myself to remain up to date with all the latest treatment modalities and to constantly improve my skills. I am also part of the South African Society of Hand Therapists and I am currently serving a second term on the Gauteng regional committee.

carpal tunnel therapy, carpal tunnel relief, ganglion wrist, ganglion cyst treatment
Hand Therapy, hand therapist


What is Hand Therapy?

“Hand Therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb, which includes the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle. It is the merging of occupational and physical therapy theory and practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the structure of the upper limb with function and activity. Using specialized skills in assessment, planning and treatment, hand therapists provide therapeutic intervention to prevent dysfunction, restore function and/or reverse the progression of pathology of the upper limb in order to enhance an individual’s ability to execute tasks and to participate fully in life situations.” – American Journal of Hand Therapy

Treatment techniques:

  • Splinting – We custom-make splints and braces that will fit perfectly.
  • Strapping – Making use of strapping to provide support and pain relief while being able to move and use the hand in all activities.
  • Exercises – We individualise exercises to promote strengthening and range of motion improvement. Home programmes are issued to ensure continious improvement at home.
  • Sensory retraining and desensitisation  – To restore the normal feeling in your fingers.
  • Swelling/Oedema management – Reduce swelling in and around the affected area.
  • Wound care – Assist with wound care to achieve normal tissue healing.
  • Pain management – Reduce and eliminate pain.
  • Ergonomics – Changing or adapting activities, tasks or the environment to suit your needs and promote optimal function.
  • Scar management – Using scar massaging techniques to facilitate optimal scar tissue formation.
  • Nerve Gliding – Getting the nerves in the upper limb free from any obstructions and restoring the nerve’s normal slide and glide function.
  • Adaptive techniques and Assistive devices – To ensure independence in all areas of life despite injury or disability.

“I had severe thumb pain and felt isolated because I could not work and nobody understood my pain. Elmarie helped me to not only get rid of my pain, but to get me back to work and to be independent.”

N Rossouw

“I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand. I refused surgery and was told I would suffer forever. Elmarie assisted me with a splint and an exercise program. No surgery was needed in the end.”

H van der Walt

“I had cut myself with a grinder at work. I went through the entire rehabilitation process and I am back at work, stronger than ever!”

S Mahlangu

“Sympathetic and caring treatment that is hard to find anywhere else.”

B Swanepoel

“I had fractured my finger whilst playing cricket. Elmarie made me a splint and assisted me with getting back on the field during the same season. With no pain I was back in action in no-time.”

AJ Bester

Hand therapy clinic frequently asked questions:

Why do I need a custom splint instead of one from a store?2019-04-22T18:44:27+02:00

The pre-fabricated splints that are currently available do not always meet the requirements for all type of injuries and may not provide the proper fit. A custom splint designed by the therapist is made to fit the patient based on a particular diagnosis and needs for proper protection and healing.

Does therapy hurt?2019-04-22T18:46:28+02:00

People are often surprised to find there is little discomfort with therapy. Depending on the type of injury, treatment often times help to alleviate pain. Certain treatments can occasionally cause temporary discomfort. The goal of therapy is to help you regain the use of your hands, or other areas of the upper limb. We get to know the unique needs of each of our patients, including any issues relating to pain. We strongly encourage you to engage in an open discussion with your therapist regarding any concerns you have about pain, discomfort or treatment as a whole. We focus on goals that will aid in recovery and allow us to achieve a balance between discomfort and healing.

Do we do home visits?2019-04-22T18:51:56+02:00

No. Please Note: There are some problems that may arise from home based treatment such as: limited space, ineffective working surface, limited equipment and much more. We encourage patients that are able to move, to rather come to the practice for treatment.

How soon after an injury or operation should you start hand therapy?2019-04-22T18:53:37+02:00

As soon as possible, numerous scientific papers have stressed the importance of early intervention to prevent complications, promote recovery and prevent re-occurrence. The faster, the shorter the recovery time.

Why 1 hour first appointments?2019-04-22T18:55:31+02:00

We schedule 1 hour appointments to provide the therapist enough time to do all the necessary screening, testing, measuring and treatment. This is very important, we don’t want to rush you in and out of our practice. We want to sort out your problem.

How long will it take?2019-04-22T18:56:54+02:00

We schedule 1 hour appointments for first consultations. We usually follow up within a week after the first appointment.

What are our business hours?2019-04-22T18:57:59+02:00

Monday – Friday 08:00 – 17:00. Visit our contact page for more details.

How fast can I make an appointment?2019-04-22T18:59:03+02:00

Give us a call right now on 012 111 9040 or 072 173 0295 or visit our contact page.

Do you need a Doctor’s letter to consult a hand therapist?2019-04-22T19:00:27+02:00

No, Occupational Therapists are first line practitioners, meaning no referral letter is necessary.
If you are uncertain whether or not to consult a hand therapist, give us a call and we will direct you to the appropriate field in medicine.

What should you wear?2019-04-22T19:04:33+02:00

Comfortable and lose clothes will be appropriate. We need to see the upper limb. Please dress comfortably but keep in mind, the arm will need to be exposed.

If you have scans, should you bring them?2019-04-22T19:06:04+02:00

Yes, if you have any old X-rays, Sonar, MRI or CT-scans please bring them with. All scans and reports could be helpful if you have any.