Scientific/Clinical Article| Volume 30, ISSUE 4, P507-515, October 2017

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Upper limb functional capacity of working patients with osteoarthritis of the hands: A cross-sectional study

Published:March 07, 2017DOI:


      Study Design

      A cross-sectional design was used.


      Little is known about the effects of osteoarthritis of the hands (OAH) on work ability in working patients with OAH.

      Purpose of the Study

      The study aimed to analyze the differences in upper limb functional capacity (ULFC) between working patients with OAH and healthy workers and to evaluate variables associated with ULFC and with self-reported disability (SRD) in working patients with OAH.


      Forty-one patients performed the ULFC Evaluation (ULFCE) and also completed 2 SRD measures. The patients' results were compared with the ULFCE results of 82 matched healthy workers from a reference database. Three sets of multivariate regression analyses were used to reveal the predictors of ULFC and SRD.


      Patients scored 12%-45% lower on all ULFCE tests (P values ranging from P P Discussion Working patients with OAH had a considerably lower ULFC compared with healthy workers. Female gender and the presence of OAH predicted lower ULFC. Pain and lower finger strength predicted worse scores on SRD.


      In the case of professionals advising working patients with OAH, our results suggest that a careful evaluation of the ULFC and SRD is warranted. Subsequently, advice regarding exercises or adjustments at work can be given.

      Level of Evidence



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      JHT Read for Credit

      Quiz: #512

      Record your answers on the Return Answer Form found on the tear-out coupon at the back of this issue or to complete online and use a credit card, go to There is only one best answer for each question.
      • #1.
        SRD was used as an acronym for
        • a.
          sympathetic reflex dystrophy
        • b.
          self-regulated disease
        • c.
          self-reported disability
        • d.
          symmetrical repeatable description
      • #2.
        The patient group were
        • a.
          workers with osteoarthritis involving their hands
        • b.
          patients on disability with OAH
        • c.
          patients with either RA of the hands or OAH
        • d.
          working patients suffering any type of arthritis of the hands
      • #3.
        Three multivariate linear progression analyses were performed to
        • a.
          compare ULFC scores to DASH scores in the patient group
        • b.
          establish base line ULFC scores in the healthy subject group
        • c.
          predict 50% of the ULFC scores
        • d.
          predict outcomes of all ULFC scores
      • #4.
        Worse scores on SRD were predicted by
        • a.
          ulnar nerve pain
        • b.
          index and middle finger PIP pain
        • c.
          diminished digital strength and pain
        • d.
          pain and reduced MP flexion
      • #5.
        The main predictors of ULFC were female gender and OAH
        • a.
        • b.
      When submitting to the HTCC for re-certification, please batch your JHT RFC certificates in groups of 3 or more to get full credit.