Research Updates

ASHT Research Updates

The Research Division has launched a new initiative to increase awareness of emerging research in the field of hand therapy. Each month, the Research Division will distribute to the ASHT membership a brief summary of an original published research paper that has been selected by members of the Research Division.

2017 Research Updates

June Research Update

The time has come to update our norms for grip and pinch measures!                                   
A new pilot study found statistically significant differences in hand grips strength in a group of 120 healthy subjects compared to the norms established by Mathiowetz et al over 30 years ago. The new study stratified data by gender, age and handedness and found differences across several groups. Negative differences were more frequent than positive differences, particularly in subjects under the age of 45. These preliminary findings suggest that overall as a population this group has decreased hand grip strength compared to previous populations. The authors conclude that further testing in a larger group is necessary in order to update normative standards to reflect current ability for use in clinical practice.

Journal Source: Computers in Biology and Medicine
Larson, C.C. and Ye, Z. Development of an updated normative data table for hand grip and pinch strength: A Pilot Study. Computers in Biology and Medicine. 2017

Access the Journal Abstract Here

Note: For non Journal of Hand Therapy articles: If you or your institution cannot access the complete article via the link, please contact Aviva Wolff, ASHT Research Division Director at wolffa@hss.edu.


May Research Update

New study finds that a combination of occupation based intervention and therapeutic exercise produces better recovery than therapeutic exercise alone in hand injured people.                                   
Limited evidence is available to support Occupation Based Intervention (OBI), a therapeutic agent that utilizes occupations (e.g. ADLs, IADLs, work, leisure etc.) and purposeful activity (e.g. writing practice, shoelace tying, shirt buttoning etc.) as a treatment medium. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of OBI and therapeutic exercise (i.e. assisted AROM/PROM, AROM and strengthening) in comparison to therapeutic exercise alone in hand injury rehabilitation practice. They found that a combination of OBI and therapeutic exercise produced better recovery according to DASH scores, total active motion, neuropathic pain, COPM performance and COPM satisfaction than TE alone in patients with hand injury.

Journal Source: The Journal of Hand Therapy

Access the Journal Abstract Here


April Research Update

Does sensory relearning via the performance of sensory re-education activities improve tactile function for individuals with chronic numbness greater than one year status post carpal tunnel release?    
 A recent prospective, randomized controlled trial out of the UK suggests that a home exercise program of short intensive daily sensory re-education tasks did not significantly impact tactile gnosis (measured via the Shape Identification Test), touch threshold, performance on the locognosia test, and outcome of the Moberg Pick-up Test for individuals with at least minor numbness and difficulty using small objects one year or more after carpal tunnel release. The authors (Jerosch-Herold and colleagues) did find a small change in patient reported function through the Michigan Hand Outcome Questionnaire, but cautioned that this did not meet clinical significance and may have been affected by study drop outs who had low self-reported functional statuses at the start of the study. The study concludes that sensory relearning for chronic sensory and functional deficits after carpal tunnel decompression is not effective.

Journal Source: The Journal of Hand Surgery (European Volume)

Access the Journal Abstract Here

Note: For non Journal of Hand Therapy articles: If you or your institution cannot access the complete article via the link, please contact Aviva Wolff, ASHT Research Division Director at wolffa@hss.edu.


March Research Update

Can Goniometric Measurements Be Influenced By Examiner Bias?
A new study from the Physical Therapy Department of Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem suggests that information provided to physical therapists prior to wrist range of motion assessment was associated with differential results of objective goniometric measurement of the wrist. Therapists received different information regarding the clinical condition of a healthy woman with no history of wrist injury. Therapists who were told the injury and outcome were more severe consistently measured the wrist motion as more limited, suggesting cognitive bias.

Journal Source: Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy

Access the Journal Abstract Here

Note: For non Journal of Hand Therapy articles: If you or your institution cannot access the complete article via the link, please contact Aviva Wolff, ASHT Research Division Director at wolffa@hss.edu.