Progress in vibrotactile threshold evaluation techniques: a review

J Hand Ther. 2011 Jul-Sep;24(3):240-55; quiz 256. doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2011.01.001. Epub 2011 Mar 25.


Vibrotactile threshold (VT) testing has been used for nearly a century to investigate activation of human somatosensory pathways. This use of vibrotactile stimuli provides a versatile tool for detecting peripheral neuropathies, and has been broadly used for investigation of carpal tunnel syndrome. New applications include investigation of drug-induced neuropathies and diabetes-related neuropathies. As a feedback device, the vibrotactile stimuli could be used as an information delivery system for rehabilitative feedback devices for upper limb musculoskeletal disorders or as information channels for the visually impaired. This review provides a comprehensive review of the advancement in VT measurement techniques over time and a comparison of these techniques in terms of various hardware features used and the testing protocols implemented. The advantages and limitations of these methods have been discussed along with specific recommendations for their implementation and suggestions for incorporation into clinical practice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / diagnosis
  • Hand / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors
  • Neurologic Examination / instrumentation*
  • Neurologic Examination / methods*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Psychophysics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensory Thresholds*
  • Touch
  • Vibration*