Howard Young therapist earns credential as expert in upper limb rehabilitation

Courtesy of Aspirus

WOODRUFF – People value the use of their hands; therefore, any loss of function through injury or disease can devastate lives.

A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) credential offers assurance to the public that the therapist treating them has achieved the highest recognition of competency in the profession of upper limb rehabilitation.

Kari Ruhr of Howard Young Medical Center, part of Aspirus, has earned the distinguished CHT designation after completing all required examinations and clinical studies from The Hand Therapy Certification Commission, Inc., the recognized specialist in hand therapy certification worldwide.

These requirements include at least three years of clinical experience as an occupational therapist, a minimum of 4,000 hours in direct practice in hand therapy, and successful completion of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper limb rehabilitation. There are approximately 6,200 individuals worldwide who hold this marked designation.

“I take pride in helping my patients get back to work or doing what they enjoy by utilizing a number of traditional techniques including manual therapy or massage and combining them with technology like ultrasound, fluidotherapy and paraffin treatments,” Ruhr said.

Ruhr has been providing therapy services in the Northwoods for the last six years as an occupational therapist at Howard Young, specializing in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation. Her career at Howard Young spans a decade, and she says the family-type environment with her colleagues combined with the uniqueness of each patient she encounters are the things that she enjoys most about her job.

She says her most common patients are people ranging from ages 40 to 60 who have issues including arthritis and joint pain or need access to rehabilitation following surgery or another procedure.

“While many people assume a hand therapist focuses exclusively on the hands, it’s really much more as often people’s problems are the direct result of other issues in the neck and shoulders,” Ruhr stated. “There can be many factors to consider what may be causing pain or loss of function.”

For many years, Howard Young Medical Center has provided access to a wide variety of outpatient therapies, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy, as well as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and wound care services.

Those specialized services continue today as Ruhr and her colleagues operate in a recently upgraded department, which was completed in 2018. The project fully updated interior finishes and designated spaces to improve safety, patient experience and workflow.

Rehabilitation referrals can be made by advanced practice nurses, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, physical therapists, physicians, physician assistants, podiatrists, psychologists, or other health care professionals.

For additional information on outpatient therapies provided by Aspirus at Howard Young Medical Center, call 715-356-8870 or visit

Scroll to Top