» Occupational Therapists : Caitlin Smith
Occupational Therapists

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Caitlin Smith

Caitlin Smith, MS, OTR/L, ODT, earned her master's and doctorate degrees in occupational therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has a wide range of experience across the health care spectrum from pediatric to geriatric patients. Dr. Smith enjoys working with pediatric patients with sensory processing, emotional regulation and motor coordination difficulties. She also works with patients post upper extremity fracture and with chronic conditions such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervain’s, trigger finger, and tennis/golfer's elbow.  

Dr. Smith is passionate about promoting a holistic approach for her patients that addresses both the physical, emotional, and environmental factors contributing to her patient’s impairments. Through her extensive volunteer experience, Dr. Smith has become a strong advocate for expanding access to therapy for cancer survivors and better addressing long term side effects to allow them to return to their meaningful life activities.

Dr. Smith has served on several volunteer boards and currently sits on National Survivorship Council for CureSearch and presents on cancer survivorship topics locally and nationally.

What is occupational therapy?

Your daily life is made up of occupations; the meaningful activities that include everything from getting dressed, to being a parent, to cooking, or working.  We all have occupations; even children.  However, most people do not think about their many occupations and roles until they have trouble completing them. Numerous conditions can impair your ability to complete daily activities, such as a wrist injury that makes it difficult to button a shirt or nerve damage following a finger fracture that makes typing at your job painful.  An occupational therapist is a skilled practitioner who uses current research and evidence to evaluate and develop interventions for patients who are experiencing these difficulties.  With a background specializing in the upper extremity, as well as our patients and clients psychological, physical, social and emotional characteristics, occupational therapists can address your conditions and limitations applying a truly holistic approach. 

Some common upper extremity injuries that your occupational therapist can address include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lateral and medial epicondylitis
  • De Quervain's syndrome
  • Trigger finger
  • Repetitive strain injuries and tendonitis of the wrist
  • Arthritis in the wrist and hand
  • Post wrist or digit fractures
  • Scar management
  • Decreased strength or coordination caused by neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's Disease or post stroke

Some common limitations that your occupational therapist can address:

  • Decreased participation, safety or independence with daily and instrumental activities of living
  • Muscle weakness, deconditioning and fatigue
  • Lack of coordination, decreased fine motor control and hand weakness
  • Chronic, pain management 
  • Cancer-related neuropathy
  • Cancer-related cognitive dysfunction
  • Physical impairments or acquired physical disability
  • Evaluation and training on adaptive equipment to increase safety and independence
  • Chronic disease and self-management, helping patients manage follow up appointments, symptoms and long-term side effects independently
  • Establishing balanced routines and incorporation of wellness-based activities to increase life satisfaction

You might need to see an occupational therapist if you have:

  • Difficulty completing activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing
  • Difficulty completing Instrumental activities of daily living, such as working, cooking, shopping and accessing the community
  • Lack of coordination
  • Changes in sensation or tactile discrimination
  • Decreased strength, coordination or range of motion in upper extremity

Sample Diagnoses: Cancer, fatigue, neuropathy, loss of movement, joint stiffness or restriction, RA, OA, De Quervain's, Trigger finger, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, wrist sprain/strain, lateral/medial epicondylitis, UE fractures (including post ORIF), scar management, pain management, rotator cuff injury/surgery, Parkinson's, CVA, brain injury, general deconditioning, overuse injuries, repetitive strain injuries

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