Sensory Dysfunction

Sensory dysfunction may be caused from a myriad of underlying pathologies, with more common causes including peripheral nerve injury (proximal/distal), neurological events such as stroke, as a consequence of learned non-use, as a sequela of trauma to the upper limb such as burns/amputation/scarring, or from conditions such as complex regional pain syndrome, shoulder-hand syndrome, or focal hand dystonia.

Sensory dysfunction may impact on both sensory and motor function of the hand. Sensory dysfunction not only causes distal issues with the hand or arm, but also leads to disorganised or diminished brain/hand connection. Significant reorganisations of this pathway may occur after an alteration to sensory inflow or motor use. Our brain has a very large representation (cortical map) for the hand, with areas that are divided to specifically receive impulses from different areas of the hand. Due to neuroplasticity of the human brain, changes to the cortical map of the hand may happen rapidly following immobilisation, injury, or lack of motor use or sensory input.

The resulting impairment that occurs with sensory dysfunction may often be dramatic and disabling. Work capacity, ability to complete basic activities of daily living, and quality of life are often significantly impacted. The functional implications following sensory impairment may be very detrimental if the condition is not managed or treated well.

At Hand Works we are able to provide you with an array of treatment modalities, education, and assessments to monitor your progress. It is vital that someone who is exhibiting sensory dysfunction have a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan established as soon as possible to prevent further exacerbation of the condition.