Home > Blog > Hand Therapy & Customized Splinting > Conditions > Finger, Hand, Wrist, Forearm & Elbow Conditions > Raynaud’s Disease Hand Therapy

Raynaud’s Disease Hand Therapy

“Working with a knowledgeable hand therapist can make the difference between success and failure in complex hand surgical cases. The therapist extends the continuum of our care, as well as functioning as coach and trainer for our patients.”

Marybeth Ezaki, MD, Past President, American Society for Surgery of the Hand

In Phoenix Rehab, our senior hand therapists are experienced licensed and dedicated therapists (physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists) who specialized ONLY in the rehabilitation, treatment and management of painful fingers, hands, wrists, forearm & elbow conditions, because of interest, passion and expertise.

Raynaud’s disease causes fingers to turn white or blue when exposed to cold temperatures

Raynaud’s disease (also referred to as Raynaud’s phenomenon) refers to a medical condition where the blood vessels open and close too much in response to temperature and stress.

When patients with Raynaud’s disease is exposed to cold temperatures, their blood vessels will get smaller (and cause pain) and their affected skin will turn white or blue.

Raynaud’s can occur in the hands, feet, nose, ears and the tip of the tongue too.

What are the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease?

People with Raynaud’s will experience pain and skin changes in response to various temperatures or stress.

  • When exposed to cold temperatures, the skin may turn white or blue because the vessels in the hand are narrowed.
  • When they attempt to warm the hand, the vessels will widen quickly and blood will rush in to the hand, causing the hand to turn red.
  • Pain usually occur or happen with these temperature changes.

What causes Raynaud’s disease?

There are two types of Raynaud’s disease, primary and secondary.

  • Primary Raynaud’s has no known cause at this time.
  • Secondary Raynaud’s is a result of trauma or injury.

People with scleroderma have a high likelihood of experiencing Raynaud’s phenomenon.

What is the treatment for Raynaud’s disease?

The treatment for Raynaud’s initially focuses on symptom management.

  • Those with Raynaud’s should keep the temperature of their hands consistently controlled when they are in cold or hot environments.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help keep vessels open.
  • If the patient is a smoker (chain or casual), he or she will be advised to stop immediately because nicotine narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow

What can a hand therapist do for me?

Our senior hand therapist can assist people in finding suitable gloves, alternatives or other garments to help keep the temperature of their hands regulated.

We will provide education on the disease and offer strategies for reducing the frequency and intensity of symptoms.

We may also provide advice on lifestyle changes that can prevent vessel narrowing, such as reducing caffeine intake.

Our senior hand therapist can also help determine specific triggers and offer activity and environmental modifications.

Without gloves or other garments, cold and cold-weather activities, such as scraping ice off a windshield, or holding onto iced/cold drinks can trigger symptoms of Raynaud’s disease

Patients may also receive the following hand therapy treatment modalities: