Residual Grip and Pinch Strength Deficits after Completion of Hand Rehabilitation

Y Levanon O. Shechtman
Occuopational Therapy, Sheba Medical Center, Israel

Introduction: Grip and pinch strength, are commonly used to document progress in the hand rehabilitation process and in return to work clinics. Grip strength measurement is widely studied, however, pinch strength measurements are not well documented. The majority of the studies on hand force were conducted on healthy participants and there is a dearth of studies on people with hand injuries.

Objectives: To examine if there are residual hand force deficits after the completion of the rehabilitation process by comparing grip and pinch strength between the injured and uninjured hand, To explore if the type of diagnosis affected these deficits.

Materials and Methods: Data was collected retrospectively from 230 participants with hand injury who were referred to the hand clinic for functional evaluation after completion of the rehabilitation process using the EVAL computerized system. The outcome measures included the average grip strength during the rapid exchange grip force test, and the average of three trials of lateral, tripod, and tip pinch. The deficits in hand force were calculated using the formula: 100-(injured hand /uninjured hand) * 100. The participants were divided into five groups according to the type and location of the injury. The data was analyzed using the general linear model for repeated measures (SPSS).

Results: There were significant differences in hand force between the injured and uninjured hands after completion of hand rehabilitation for all injury groups (p<0.05). Grip strength deficits ranged from 20% -30% while pinch strength deficits ranged from 40% -50%. No significant differences was found in the residual deficit in grip and pinch strength between the five injury groups.

Conclusion: Residual deficits in hand force after completion the rehabilitation process was found. Furthermore, hand force deficits after completion the rehabilitation process were not affected by gender or by the location and type of injury.