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Nuances of Mobilizing the Stiff Hand

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

Online Course: Learn a logical rationale for treating stiffness, why many current treatment approaches are not successful, and new approaches for resolving joint stiffness.

2 Credit Hours

Instructor: Judy C. Colditz, OT/L, CHT, FAOTA

Experience Level: Intermediate       NOTE: This course is listed as intermediate, but offers content for all levels of experience: beginners will learn some basic concepts and experienced therapists will gain new insights. AOTA permits only one experience level to be listed.

Video Runtime: 2 hours, 8 minutes

Course description: This online course explores our current state-of-the-art, evidence-based rationale for treating stiffness in the hand. After defining joint stiffness and reviewing current evidence, discussion focuses on both the tissue response and cortical response to stress deprivation and stress application, explaining how edema, interosseous muscle tightness, and passive range of motion interplay with the collagen response. A review of traditional treatment, the use of Casting Motion to Mobilize Stiffness and the use of Active Redirection equip the participant with new clinical tools for treating stiffness.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this 2 hour online course the participant will be able to:

  • Identify the definition of joint stiffness.
  • Recognize the causes of joint stiffness.
  • Identify the human tissue response to movement.
  • Recognize the cortical response to joint movement.
  • Identify the benefits of active redirection.


Target Audience: Occupational and Physical Therapists who treat hand patients; Certified Hand Therapists

Prerequisites: None; the course participant should be familiar with the basic bony and muscle/tendon anatomy of the hand.

Cancellation: This online course is available to the subscriber for a period of six (6) months following the date of purchase; refunds are not available.

Completion Requirements: Learner must view video in its entirety and successfully pass the online examination to earn the stated contact hour credit. Only those who satisfactorily meet these requirements will be awarded the contact hours. Note: AOTA CEUs are calculated by dividing contact hours by 10.

AOTA Approved Provider: This course is approved for credit by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. Approved Provider Program and provides information under the AOTA Classification Codes:AOTA provider


Client Factors

  • Body Structures

Activity Demands

  • Required body functions
  • Required body structures

General Questions

How do I access my HandLab online course?

You will receive an email with course access instructions separately from your order confirmation email. You may also download Course Access Instructions here. NOTE: If a course was purchased for you or you chose to not have the course automatically activated during checkout, you will need to activate your course with the serial number from your order confirmation.

What are my payment options?

Online course tuition may be paid only by MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover; check payment is not accepted. Upon payment you will receive an email confirmation of your course purchase, and your online course(s) will be available in the My Online Courses and Exams section of your HandLab account.

Will I receive a confirmation of my HandLab online course purchase?

Yes, after completing your order you will receive an email confirmation. To access your online courses you will use your HandLab account login information.

Does HandLab provide discounts for multiple attendees from one facility?

We are unable to offer multiple attendee discounts. To receive continuing education credit each participant must create a HandLab account.

Does HandLab offer volume discounts for purchasing multiple Online Video Courses at one time?

Yes, volume discounts automatically apply as follows:

Purchase 3 online video courses to receive a 10% discount on each course.
Purchase 6 online video courses to receive a 20% discount on each course.
Purchase 10 online video courses to receive a 30% discount on each course.

What will my credit card statement say?

Your credit card statement will have a charge from “HandLab.”

What is the online course cancellation policy?

Because HandLab online courses are available to you anytime for a period of 6 months, HandLab does not accept cancellations or provide refunds for online courses.


Which Course is Right for Me?

I am a beginning hand therapist—what HandLab courses are best for me?

This is a challenging question for us since we do not know your level of experience/knowledge!  Most of our courses provide a focus on understanding anatomy as a key to understanding pathology and treatment rationale, and new therapists say this approach is valuable. One therapist commented: “I have one year experience in working in a clinic treating only hand pathology. This course addressed my needs to know WHY you do WHAT and WHEN instead of simply following a protocol set out for you.”

I am preparing for the CHT exam—what HandLab courses are best for me?

Therapists have told us HandLab courses help them gain clinical reasoning skills which are vital to passing the exam.  We are unable to identify any one course to specifically help with passing the exam since we do not know the exam content.

I have many years of experience and am not looking for the basics-- what HandLab courses are best for me?

Although HandLab courses review the core knowledge needed for treatment, each course provides current evidence based rationale for treatment. Experienced therapists tell us our courses are a time saver in keeping them up-to-date.  One therapist with 35 years’ experience wrote:  "I am so happy I chose this course… Many thanks! Yes, my skills are going to the clinic in the morning! Wonderful!".

Do you offer hands-on splinting (orthotic construction) courses?

Because therapists find that close up videos of orthotic construction allow them to stop, restart, rewind, and review all the steps of construction over and over again as needed, we now provide only online videos of orthotic construction skills. Since the videos are available for six months, the therapist can integrate the skills fully during this time.

Which Online Video Courses have detailed demonstrations of the steps of orthotic construction?

You will find construction videos in the following courses:

  • The Obstinate PIP Joint
    • PIP serial cast
    • PIP precise gutter
    • PIP Active redirection for flexion and/or extension
  • Radial Nerve: Rehabilitation & Orthotic Intervention
  • Constructing an Effective Intrinsic Stretching Orthosis
  • Thumb CMC Osteoarthritis: Optimal Orthotic Intervention for the CMC Joint
  • Thumb CMC Osteoarthritis: Optimal Orthotic Intervention for the MP & IP Joints
Does HandLab recommend a certain order in which I should complete the Online Video Courses?

Although each HandLab video course can be viewed independently, two groups of courses are optimally viewed in sequence (in descending order listed):


  • Understanding the Dorsal Apparatus of the Finger
  • What Drives Finger Motion
  • Insight into the Interosseous Muscles
  • Interosseous Muscle Tightness Testing
  • Insight into the Lumbrical Muscle & Testing for Tightness
  • Constructing an Effective Intrinsic Stretching Orthosis


  • Thumb Framework: Joints, Ligaments & Motions
  • Scrutiny of the Multidimensional Thumb Muscles
  • Thumb CMC Osteoarthritis: Surgical & Post-Surgical Insights
  • Thumb CMC Osteoarthritis: Precise Examination & Non-Surgical Treatment
  • Thumb CMC Osteoarthritis: Optimal Orthotic Intervention for the CMC Joint
  • Thumb CMC Osteoarthritis: Optimal Orthotic Intervention for the MP & IP Joints
Are the classes Judy Colditz teaches at conferences available as online courses?

Yes and no; information in Online Video Courses is updated and/or expanded from courses at meetings (or vice versa). Some core information may be repeated but the presentations are never identical.

Is information in the Online Video Courses similar to information in the HandLab DVDs?

There is some repetition of information but the Online Video Courses are newer and thus have more updated information.


Continuing Education Credit

How does credit for HandLab online video courses work?

To obtain continuing education credit, you must view the video and pass the online exam. Log in to your account and click on "My Courses & Exams" to access your course. Once you complete the course, your online exam is available.

Upon successful completion of the exam, you can print/save a PDF of your Certificate of Completion with contact hours. If you do not successfully complete the exam, you may take the exam as many times as needed until passed. You have 6 months from the date of purchase in which to pass the exam.

HandLab is an approved provider of the American Occupational Therapy Association.  Individual HandLab Online Courses of less than 3 hours meet criteria “B” for HTCC requirements, but if you complete multiple HandLab online courses you may submit the certificates together to HTCC and receive type “A” credit.  If you do not submit the certificates together, you will not be eligible for type “A” credit.

When can I take my online exam?

You must first view the entire video to gain access to the exam. NOTE: If you watch part of a video and return later, you can resume from the last point you viewed, to assure you do not mistakenly miss part of the video. 

Where do I take my online exam?

You may take the exam from any computer where you can access our website: www.HandLab.com. You must also have the ability to print from www.HandLab.com at your home/work location to print your certificate.  If you are unable to print, you may print the certificate at a later time if needed.

Can I sign on to www.HandLab.com to take the exam and be sure your site is secure? 

Our website uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), the industry standard for secure online transactions to protect our customers' privacy and our website's integrity with encrypted links between our website and a customer's computer.

What happens if I fail my exam?

If you do not successfully complete the exam, you may take the exam as many times as needed until passed. You have 6 months from the date of purchase in which to pass the exam.

How can I get another copy of my continuing education certificate?

If you require a replacement certificate, log in to your account, click "My Courses & Exams" and locate your certificate under "My Certificates" to reprint your certificate. 

Will my contact hours be accredited?

HandLab is an approved provider of continuing education by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).  Individual HandLab online courses less than 3 hours long meet criteria “B” for HTCC requirements, but if you complete multiple online courses you may submit the certificates together to HTCC and receive type “A” credit.  If you do not submit the certificates together, you will not be eligible for type “A” credit.

HandLab online courses may meet individual state continuing education requirements for PTs and OTs. HandLab does not assume responsibility for courses refused by individual licensing boards in the USA. It is the responsibility of the participant to make sure the state to which they are submitting CE credits will approve HandLab course credit.

Does HandLab credit apply to my state license renewal requirements?

Continuing education requirements are different in different states. You must check with your state licensing board to confirm approval or assure prior approval. HandLab cannot guarantee acceptance by your state licensing board. HandLab is an approved continuing education provider of the American Occupational Therapy Association which many states recognize. HandLab will provide information you require to submit for approval. Please contact support@handlab.com for assistance.

Can my contact hours be used for my CHT renewal?

Yes, individual HandLab online courses less than 3 hours long meet criteria “B” for HTCC requirements, but if you complete multiple online courses you may submit the certificates together to HTCC and receive type “A” credit.  If you do not submit the certificates together, you will not be eligible for type “A” credit.


Technical Questions

What are the technical requirements for viewing an online course?

HandLab Online Video Courses consist of a printable/savable handout, video, and online exam.

  • Handout: To view the handout you must have a PDF viewer installed on your computer. Most computers have this automatically installed but if not, you should be prompted by your computer to download the software.
  • Online Video: All course videos stream directly to your computer so you do not need any special software. The speed (and clarity) of your video depends on the quality of your internet connection. If you are trying to access a course from a work computer and having trouble accessing your course, please check with your network administrator. Companies often have firewalls or restrictions that impede access to certain websites/file types.
  • Online Exam: There are no special requirements for taking the online exam.
  • Certificate of Completion: You will need the same PDF viewer installed as needed for the handouts. You may print or save the PDF of your Certificate of Completion.
Which web browser should I use for accessing a course?

The HandLab website and Education Center works best with modern browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox, Safari, and the latest version of Internet Explorer. Our website does not work well with outdated versions of Internet Explorer. Please make sure you are using the most up to date version of your browser if you are having technical difficulties.

Why is my course not listed in the education center?

If someone else purchased a course for you or when you purchased you checked the box to NOT automatically activate the course, you need to activate the course. You can activate a course here using the serial number in your order confirmation email.

Online Video Courses expire 6 months from the date of purchase. The course will no longer be listed if it has passed the 6 month expiration. All of your Certificates of Completion will continue to be available anytime under “My Certificates.”

My course is activated but I still cannot see the course listed in the education center.

Try returning to the main HandLab webpage and logging out of your account. Log back in and return to the Education Center. Select My Courses from the left hand column to see your courses.

25 Reviews

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  1. Good pace and very interesting material Review by Anonymous

    I really liked how is was a balance of theory, scholarly evidence and practical application for the clinic. Good pace and very interesting material. I will apply the following ideas into practice: cortical re-mapping, using AROM especially with blocking to gain AROM and PROM, the idea of maladaptive movement patterns and how they affect progress, using a different approach for early vs chronic stiffness, mobilize early to prevent stiffness.
    (Posted on 9/6/2017)

  2. Very Useful Review by Anonymous

    Loved seeing where the future is going with therapy techniques.
    (Posted on 7/26/2017)

  3. Great Review by anonymous

    This is a great refresher to be able to look critically at a patient's movement pattern in order to make corrections to abnormal movement.
    (Posted on 6/13/2017)

  4. Love Review by Tilly

    I plan to utilize the varied active redirection techniques in my patients with stiff hands. I also plan to incorporate more simple daily tasks in therapy to reduce the guarding I see pt's exhibit.
    (Posted on 5/23/2017)

  5. The course was great. Review by Lauren

    The course was great. Rather than ""cranking"" on chronically stiff hands I will be implementing active redirection and the use of the CMMS technique

    (Posted on 5/19/2017)

  6. Very easy to understand and effective way to learn. Review by Liz

    I will think more about cmms rather than the traditional static splinting to pain prom. I will be taking more of these courses. Very easy to understand and effective way to learn.
    (Posted on 5/5/2017)

  7. This course's content is engaging on many levels and facilitated my learning of advanced concepts. Thank you! Review by Jackie

    I look forward to utilizing the yolk orthosis to prevent PIP joint contracture post-buttonhole injury. I also look forward to promoting active movement earlier to prevent collagen cross-linking. I'm still digesting this presentation. I would like to utilize other learning aspects in my current practice as they are appropriate.
    (Posted on 4/10/2017)

  8. Review by Joey

    Nice course, short and to the point with useful info.
    (Posted on 3/7/2017)

  9. Rethinking after 20 years of practice Review by Harper

    This course provides an innovative approach to maximize gaining AROM and functional use of newly injured and chronically stiff hands. I will rethink how I approach treatment of a newly injured hand to try to prevent a chronically stiff hand and educate the physicians and patients on the importance of active movement done in the right patterns.

    (Posted on 2/17/2017)

  10. Review by Mooney

    I plan to use active redirection orthoses with patients to increase motion in the stiff hand.
    (Posted on 2/14/2017)

  11. Review by Arthur

    This course was the most comprehensive study of stiffness in the hand that I have ever heard. The presentation is well supported with good research evidence and demonstrates principles that can be immediately applied in the clinic. Going forward I will employ more active treatment techniques rather than passive techniques for chronic stiffness in the hand.
    (Posted on 1/31/2017)

  12. I enjoyed the course very much. Review by Isabel

    Very well presented material that encourages thinking beyond standard treatment protocols. I plan to educate my patients early regarding the cortical changes following hand injuries; splinting decisions. I enjoyed the course very much.
    (Posted on 1/17/2017)

  13. Review by Karen

    Extremely clear and easy to follow. The material from the course can be utilized right away! Would definitely recommend to anyone wanting to understand this subject matter better. I will start to use the information with patients that have chronic hand stiffness by incorporating the CMMS model.
    (Posted on 1/2/2017)

  14. Review by Beth

    Will apply information presented in this course daily in my practice
    (Posted on 12/29/2016)

  15. Review by Marsha

    I will use concepts of cortical re-mapping and active redirection
    (Posted on 12/8/2016)

  16. Review by Anthony

    I had just started reading about CMMS and this took it to the next level for me. The connection between corticol remapping and CMMS was very well explained. I look forward to utilizing it in my practice.
    (Posted on 12/6/2016)

  17. I thughot finding th Review by Banjo

    I thughot finding this would be so arduous but it's a breeze!
    (Posted on 11/18/2016)

  18. Chronic Stiff Hand in Clinic Review by Robbie

    I will use the info to treat the chronic stiff hand, which has been an issue in my practice. This course was well documented and well presented
    (Posted on 11/11/2016)

  19. Applicable to current patient with Stiff Hand Review by Linda

    Currently I have a patient that sustained an elbow dislocation and fracture with soft tissue wrist and hand injury along with symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome. She was not instructed to move her fingers while in her elbow cast. She currently has a stiff hand. This course will be very helpful to restoring normal movement

    (Posted on 11/11/2016)

  20. Review by Liz

    I can apply the information directly to patient care.
    (Posted on 11/9/2016)

  21. Will continue to explore even after my second course. Review by Amy

    Changing problem solving from what orthosis to use to what is the best treatment. The orthosis demonstrated were very interesting. Will continue to explore these.

    This is my second Hand Lab course and I highly recommend these. The information is fresh and causes me to question some of my older beliefs. I know my patients will benefit from what I have learned. I also appreciated the conclusion which summarizes the video presentation and preps for the course examination.
    (Posted on 11/7/2016)

  22. Light Bulb! Review by George

    This course provided several light bulb moments concerning the treatment of the stiff hand. It helped me to recognize old ideas of rehabilitation and how they are detrimental to the overall process in helping patients return to desired function.
    (Posted on 11/7/2016)

  23. Review by Blaire

    Very informative. Judy Colditz clearly and simply demonstrated the intricate make-up of a stiff hand and joints, ways for a therapist to treat this problem and provided the reasoning for her approach. Her explanations and multiple visual examples make the topic so much easier to comprehend. It has changed how this therapist will approach this problems with patients.
    (Posted on 9/29/2016)

  24. Review by Lisa

    Love the systematic method of dispelling old ideologies, and replacing with new treatment approaches based on research. Thank you. I implemented immediately between the time I finished course, and the time I took test (about 4 hours).
    (Posted on 7/29/2016)

  25. Review by Janice

    I am glad I had several chances to redo exam. The course enlightened me as to the effect of no movement which I had often received from the general surgeon with distal radial fractures and I am also guilty of the old treatment measures of static progressive orthotics. I had used a relative motion splint to a stiff PIPJ and had wonderful results. I am anxious to try redirection of the PIPJ.
    (Posted on 5/31/2016)

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