Lower touch sensibility in the extremities of healthy Indians: further deterioration with age

J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2008 Mar;13(1):47-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8027.2008.00157.x.


Touch sensibility testing is a cost-effective, psychophysical measure of peripheral nerve function and impairment. However, there is limited information regarding the natural variability in touch sensibility across different populations and different age groups. We studied 568 healthy Indian volunteers without any clinical evidence of peripheral nerve disease. Touch sensibility was evaluated bilaterally in palms, feet, and heels, using Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments, with target forces ranging from 0.008 to 300 g. No differences were observed between the right and the left limbs. The lowest target force detected ranged from 0.4 to 2 g in the palms and 1.4 to 15 g in the feet. These values showed further increase with age. Women compared with men had higher sensibility in the palms in most age groups. Touch sensibility thresholds recorded in a large group of Indians were higher than that reported in other populations. These findings have clinical implications for the diagnosis of early nerve impairment in the elderly and in disease states drawing attention to geographic variations in touch sensation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Touch / physiology*