Did you know that grip strength can tell you a whole lot about an individual’s dexterity. Dexterity is extremely important to allow us to perform various tasks and activities of daily living. Understanding the relationship of grip strength and dexterity can provide valuable insight.
What is Dexterity?
“The coordination of voluntary movement to accomplish an actual or simulated functional goal/task accurately, quickly, resourcefully and adapting to environment or change.”1
There are many components that affect someone’s dexterity. These factors may include the musculoskeletal system, neuromuscular system, sensory integrity, eye-hand coordination, and regional interdependence.
Studies have demonstrated there may be a significant correlation regarding grip and pinch strength for individuals with pathologies including Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.2 This highlights the importance of evaluating grip strength during a physical examination.
Studies have demonstrated how age and grip strength can predict hand dexterity function.3Aiming and tapping hand dexterity (involving rapid, coordinated, goal directed actions) appeared to be moderated by the factor of grip strength more than age.3
Steadiness and line tracking hand dexterity performance was better explained by age than strength, and an interaction between age and strength on steadiness hand dexterity showed that mean to older adults were particularly influenced by strength.3
Grip strength is an excellent evaluation instrument to help gather meaningful information. I encourage all clinicians to utilize this in their own clinical practice.
Article Written By Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT
- Yong J, MacDermid JC, and Packham T. Defining dexterity – untangling the discourse in clinical practice. Journal of Hand Therapy, 2020, 33: 517-519.
- Fouasson-Chailloux A, Daley P, Menu P, Louguet B, Gadbled G, Bouju Y, Abraham P, and Dauty M. Hand strength deficit in patients with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. Diagnostics, 2021, 13;11(5): 874.
- Martin JA, Ramsay J, Hughes C, Peters DM, Edwards MG (2015) Age and Grip Strength Predict Hand Dexterity in Adults. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0117598. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.011759