Ulnar digits contribution to grip strength in patients with thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis is less than in normal controls

Jorge H. Villafañe, Kristin Valdes, Santiago Angulo-Diaz-Parreño, Paolo Pillastrini, Stefano Negrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Grip testing is commonly used as an objective measure of strength in the hand and upper extremity and is frequently used clinically as a proxy measure of function. Increasing knowledge of hand biomechanics, muscle strength, and prehension patterns can provide us with a better understanding of the functional capabilities of the hand. The objectives of this study were to determine the contribution of ulnar digits to overall grip strength in individuals with thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: Thirty-seven subjects participated in the study. This group consisted of 19 patients with CMC OA (aged 60–88 years) and 18 healthy subjects (60–88 years). Three hand configurations were used by the subjects during grip testing: use of the entire hand (index, middle, ring, and little fingers) (IMRL); use of the index, middle, and ring fingers (IMR); and use of only the index and middle fingers (IM). Results: Grip strength findings for the two groups found that compared to their healthy counterparts, CMC OA patients had, on average, a strength deficiency of 45.6, 35.5, and 28.8 % in IMRL, IMR, and IM, respectively. The small finger contribution to grip is 14.3 % and the ring and small finger contribute 34 % in subjects with CMC OA. Discussion: Grip strength decreases as the number of digits contributing decreased in both groups. The ulnar digits contribution to grip strength is greater than one third of total grip strength in subjects with CMC OA. Individuals with CMC OA demonstrate significantly decreased grip strength when compared to their healthy counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 27 2015


  • Carpometacarpal osteoarthritis
  • Grip strength
  • Hand therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Thumb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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