Sensors and Robotics| Volume 33, ISSUE 2, P188-197, April 2020

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Evaluation of individual finger forces during activities of daily living in healthy individuals and those with hand arthritis


      • Joint protection programs are not evidence based and poorly adhered to.the envelope of applied forces applied by the fingers during 19 activities of daily living was measured.
      • Study examines reduction in hand forces that these programs using finger sensors In healthy individuals, this envelope of applied forces was 1.4 ± 0.6 N to 34.8 ± 1.6 N.
      • This envelope was similar in participants with hand arthritis: 2.3 ± 1.0 N to 30.7 ± 3.7 N.



      Measuring finger forces during activities of daily living and how these forces change for individuals with pathologies such as arthritis is valuable to our understanding of hand function.

      Purpose of the Study

      The purpose of this study was to determine the forces of individual fingers during the performance of daily activities in healthy participants and determine the envelope of these applied forces.


      This is a cross-sectional study investigating twenty-five healthy participants (12 female: 22-65 years old and 13 male: 20-53 years old) and participants with osteoarthritis (12 female: 52-79 years old and 9 male: 64-79 years old) examined at one time point. The force sensors were calibrated for each individual using a load cell to provide force output in Newtons. Each participant performed 19 activities of daily living two times. Force was plotted over time for each task, and the maximum force in each finger during that task was evaluated.


      The range of applied forces was 1.4 ± 0.6 N to 34.8 ± 1.6 N for healthy participants and 2.3 ± 1.0 N to 30.7 ± 3.7 N for those with osteoarthritis.


      Sensors allowed for real-time monitoring of finger forces during tasks of daily life. This provides the opportunity to isolate hand grips based on finger recruitment and provide information about the magnitude of forces during the activity.


      Measurement of individual finger forces can provide more accurate biomechanical models of the hand and determine the effect of disease on hand functions.


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      JHT Read for Credit

      Quiz: # 672

      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.
        Units of force were reported in
        • a.
        • b.
          foot pounds
        • c.
        • d.
      • # 2.
        The force sensors were
        • a.
          readily available commercial models
        • b.
          custom fabricated to meet the needs of this study
        • c.
          in routine use in 10 surveyed hand therapy clinics in Canada
        • d.
          none of the above
      • # 3.
        The protocol called for ________________ as to how to perform the tasks
        • a.
          training of the therapy staff
        • b.
          limited coaching
        • c.
          detailed coaching
        • d.
          no coaching
      • # 4.
        The envelopes for normal and subjects with OA
        • a.
          were not reported
        • b.
          were surprisingly almost identical in both groups
        • c.
          varied slightly in the OA group
        • d.
          varied greatly in the OA group
      • # 5.
        Individuals are generally able to generate more force than is required for typical ADLs
        • a.
          not true
        • 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.