Hand impairment and activity limitations in four chronic diseases

J Hand Ther. Jul-Sep 2013;26(3):232-6; quiz 237. doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 Apr 24.


Study design: Retrospective cohort.

Introduction: Hand involvement in osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are well known to occupational and physical therapists; however, it is not known whether the impairments and activity limitations with diabetes (DMII) and systemic sclerosis (SSc) are as severe as those observed with OA and RA.

Purpose: To compare the hand impairments and activity limitations in the 4 diseases.

Methods: A convenience sample of 156 participants received evaluations of hand impairments: strength, joint motion, and dexterity and completed a hand activity limitations questionnaire.

Results: The SSc and RA participants had weaker pinch, decreased joint motion and more activity limitations than the DMII and OA groups. There were no significant differences between the groups for right hand grip strength and pegboard dexterity, and applied dexterity.

Conclusions: OA and DMII groups had significantly less impairments and activity limitations than the SSc and RA groups.

Level of evidence: 2C.

Keywords: Diabetes; Osteoarthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Systemic sclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Hand / physiopathology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sampling Studies
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / physiopathology*