Full Length Article| Volume 35, ISSUE 3, P477-487, July 2022

Comparison of finger kinematics between patients with hand osteoarthritis and healthy participants with and without joint protection programs

  • Ahmed Tanashi
    School of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
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  • Mike Szekeres
    Roth|McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre, St. Joseph's Health Care, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Joy MacDermid
    Roth|McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre, St. Joseph's Health Care, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Emily A. Lalone
    Corresponding author. Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, Thompson Engineering Building, Room 361, London, Ontario N6A 5B9, Canada.
    School of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

    Department of Surgery, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

    Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

    Roth|McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre, St. Joseph's Health Care, London, Ontario, Canada
    Search for articles by this author
Published:November 13, 2020DOI:


      • This study used a novel joint kinematic analysis technique to quantify differences in the finger range of motion in individuals with and without hand arthritis during activities of daily living.
      • This study was able to quantify the decrease in the finger range of motion that is associated with hand arthritis while individuals are performing activities of daily living.
      • Joint protection strategies aimed at reducing joint deformity do not always reduce joint finger motion as previously thought.


      Study Design

      This is a cross-sectional, clinical observational study.


      Finger range of motion (ROM) and functional performance are critical in many daily activities. Hand osteoarthritis (H-OA) is a prevalent disease that impairs both variables. Little quantitative research has been performed on finger kinematics during activities of daily living (ADLs) across health status and method of performance (with or without joint protection programs).


      The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of H-OA and method of performance on ROM in the thumb, index, and middle digits (flexion/extension and abduction/adduction) during ADLs.


      This study was conducted using 10 healthy participants (mean age: 28 years) and nine participants with H-OA (mean age: 72 years). All participants performed baseline ROM movements followed by 9 activities of daily living. These activities involved prehension type grasps and were performed with and without the recommended joint protection procedures specific to each task. Thumb IP and MCP, index distal interphalengeal (DIP) and proximal interphalengeal (PIP), and middle DIP and PIP joints were continuously recorded using an electromagnetic tracking system for ROM analysis.


      Participants with H-OA had a statistically significant decrease in ROM when comparing values measured in the healthy cohort during active ROM (25° decrease) and ADL ROM (25° decrease) in the flex/ext direction. Similarly, following joint protection instruction, a statistically significant decrease in ROM was found during tasks in the flex/ext direction (healthy participant decrease in ROM: 17°, H-OA decrease in ROM:10°)


      This study demonstrated that people with hand arthritis move through a smaller arc of motion when performing some functional tasks as compared with the controls, and that with instruction on joint protection techniques, participants made significant changes in the amount of movement used to perform tasks, which supports a proof of principle of joint protection.


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      JHT Read for Credit

      Quiz: # 871

      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.
        One of the objectives of the joint protection instruction was to
        • a.
          increase the arc of motion during ADL
        • b.
          decrease the arc of motion during ADL
        • c.
          stabilize the arc of motion during ADL
        • d.
          none of the above
      • # 2.
        Instructions were given by
        • a.
        • b.
          OTRs and PTs
        • c.
          family members
        • d.
          grad students
      • # 3.
        ROM data were captured by
        • a.
          student therapists
        • b.
        • c.
          an electromagnetic tracking system
        • d.
          X-ray tracking
      • # 4.
        The OA group demonstrated approximately _________ degrees change following joint protection instruction
        • a.
        • b.
        • c.
        • d.
      • # 5.
        The authors established that the joint protection program had a significant effect
        • 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.