PTA vs OTA for fit older female w/ arthritis

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RK in NC in Mooresville, North Carolina

55 months ago

I've read lots of the other posts, but would still appreciate input on the subject of PTA vs. OTA. I'm 55, pretty fit (but not very strong upper-body) female, have taken prereqs, I'm doing observation hours, and plan to apply next fall. But much to my chagrin have started experiencing some osteoarthritis in my dominant hand. I've done PTA observation in hospital outpatient clinic, and now in SNF. I'm getting concerned about being able to help patients lift for transfers, gait training, etc. Would OTA be safer bet for career longevity? Any input is appreciated.

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PTAgirl in Concord, California

55 months ago

Have you observed in OT?? It could certainly be easier on your body. there outpatient clinics that might be easier than SNF or hospital / outpatient. you may even find a fit in aqua therapy. I think there are many options. but there is a need for some level of strength I am finding as a new grad working in outpatient. I'm 46 and pretty fit, but that's a constant work in progress like everyone else.

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now and again in no city, California

2 months ago

therapists/assistants tend to do more lifting in SNF, in pt, hospital settings HH not as much in outpt but you there you may have to a lot of manual work - afterall you want to do things with the pt that they can't do at home so a good therapist will try to do more manual work or at least some - PNF, ROM, etc but also measurements positioning of limbs, muscle manual testing (MMT), tissue mobilization, if indicated of course vs whole session of just exercises while in clinic, also consider amount of documentation mostly electronic these days but some might still have you writing on paper which may aggravate symptoms.
Part of the job application or contract will usually a list of "must be" and you will likely see: must be able to lift up to 30 or sometimes 50 pounds for many facilities/clinics among other things.

Having said that I have worked with therapists in their 60s and they too are fairly fit and they've been able to handle the requirements just fine.
See if you can observe both sides and different therapists different settings and see which one you think might work better for you.

Maybe you can see a certified hand therapist in the meantime and get treatment to manage the pain and learn modification techniques, jt protection, etc.

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