Joint protection and home hand exercises improve hand function in patients with hand osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial

Arthritis Rheum. 2002 Feb;47(1):44-9. doi: 10.1002/art1.10246.


Objective: To determine the effect of joint protection and home exercises on hand function of patients with hand osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods: Randomized, controlled, 3-month trial with a blinded assessor. Primary outcome parameter was grip strength; secondary parameters were Health Assessment Questionnaire and visual analog scales (VAS) for pain and global hand function. Forty patients with hand OA were randomly assigned to 2 groups: One group received instruction for joint protection and home hand exercises (JPE group), the control group received an information session about hand OA.

Results: Grip strength improved by 25% in the JPE group (right hand, P < 0.0001; left hand, P = 0.0005), but not in the control group. Global hand function (by VAS) improved in a larger proportion (65%) of patients in the JPE group (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Joint protection and hand home exercises, easily administered and readily acceptable interventions, were found to increase grip strength and global hand function.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Austria
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Finger Joint / physiopathology*
  • Hand / physiopathology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome