Research Article|Articles in Press

Clinical measurement of functional dart thrower's motion in patients with unilateral wrist conditions undergoing nonoperative or postoperative hand therapy

Published:March 12, 2023DOI:


      • Measurement of functional dart thrower's motion is clinically feasible.
      • Lower functional dart thrower's motion was noted on affected wrists in postoperative and nonoperative patients.


      Study Design

      Cross-sectional and descriptive study


      Functional dart thrower's motion (F-DTM) is an obliquely oriented wrist motion that occurs in activities such as throwing and drinking from a cup. There is limited data on clinical measurement of F-DTM.

      Purpose of the Study

      The purpose of this study was to 1) describe and establish reference scores for F-DTM measurement for nonoperative and postoperative wrist patients 2) compare F-DTM between the affected and nonaffected sides and 3) determine F-DTM score agreement across three consecutive trials.


      Two certified hand therapists evaluated F-DTM in consecutive adult patients with a unilateral wrist condition undergoing nonoperative or postoperative therapy. Three trials of goniometer measurements for radial extension (RE) and ulnar flexion (UF) were assessed on the nonaffected and affected wrists. A total arc F-DTM was computed. Mean, 95% confidence intervals (CI), and Cohen's d effect size described side-to-side differences in RE, UF, and total arc F-DTM. Agreement in scores across trials was assessed with an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).


      Thirty-one nonoperative (mean ± SD age = 40.0 ± 13.9 years, 74% female, 94% right hand dominant) and 44 postoperative patients (mean ± SD age = 44.9 ± 14.9 years, 66% female, 84% right hand dominant) were enrolled. The average side-to-side difference, in degrees, in the nonoperative group was -6.4 (95% CI: -9.4 to -3.4, Cohen's d = 0.8) for RE, -10.4 (-16.7 to -4.0, d = 0.6) for UF, and -16.8 (-24.3 to -9.2, d = 0.8) for total arc F-DTM. The average side-to-side difference in the postoperative group was -33.6 (-38.8 to -28.3, d = 1.9) for RE, -34.7 (-40.6 to -28.7, d = 1.8) for UF, and -68.2 (-77.9 to -58.5, d = 2.1) for total arc F-DTM. The range of ICCs for F-DTM measurements was 0.82-0.96.


      Goniometer measurement of F-DTM is a clinically feasible method to quantify functional motion loss in an injured wrist population, particularly patients with postoperatively managed wrist conditions.


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