I work in a factory that makes window frames. I lift 20 to 30-pound frames at least 100 times each day. Four months ago, I had a work-related arm injury. How will I know when it’s safe to return to work?

Your doctor, along with a physical or occupational therapist will advise you on this decision. A hand therapy program is suggested based on studies done in the Netherlands. Workers with arm injuries who follow a standard hand therapy program return to work sooner than those who don’t finish the program.

The therapist will measure muscle strength and nerve function. The therapist will also include functional testing. This shows if your recovery is enough to carry out your job tasks. Based on test results, the therapist advises the doctor and the patient when retraining or a different job is needed.