We have reevaluated the Martin vigorimeter to measure grip strength in healthy subjects, and patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and investigated the correlation of grip strength and hand function using the Jebsen hand function tests and Purdue pegboard test before and after treatment. The vigorimeter showed good test-retest reliability (r greater than 0.911) and interrater reliability (r greater than 0.915). Test-retest reliability was greater than 0.97 for the Jebsen test, and greater than 0.94 for the Purdue test in healthy individuals. Seventeen patients with RA were studied at intervals of 1 to 16 weeks. Active joint count and grip strength both improved significantly. Improvement in grip strength correlated with improvement in active joint count. Hand function tests were significantly impaired in the patients with RA.