Measurement Properties of the Hand Grip Strength Assessment: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2020 Mar;101(3):553-565. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2019.10.183. Epub 2019 Nov 13.


Objective: The aim of this study was to critically appraise, compare, and summarize the quality of the measurement properties of grip strength (GS) in patients with musculoskeletal, neurologic, or systemic conditions and healthy participants without these conditions.

Data sources: We followed the Consensus-based Standards for the Selection of Health Measurement Instruments guideline. To identify studies on measurement properties of GS, we searched the MEDLINE, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, Physiotherapy Evidence, and Cochrane Library databases from inception until June 2019. Meta-analyses were carried out using a random effects model and 95% CIs were calculated.

Study selection: Studies were included if they reported at least 1 measurement property of hand GS in a population with musculoskeletal, neurologic, and systemic conditions or a healthy population without these conditions.

Data extraction: The extracted data included the study population, setting, sample size, measurement evaluated, and the test interval.

Data synthesis: Twenty-five studies were included with 1879 participants. The pooled results indicated excellent intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of 0.92 (95% CI, -0.88-0.94 for healthy participants without any conditions, ICC of 0.95 (95% CI, -0.93-0.97) for upper extremity conditions, and an ICC of 0.96 (95% CI, -0.94-0.97) for patients with neurologic conditions. Minimum clinically important difference (MCID) scores for hand GS were 5.0 kg (dominant side) and 6.2 kg (nondominant side) for patients post stroke, 6.5 kg for the affected side after distal radius fracture, 10.5 lb and 10 kPa for immune-mediated neuropathies, 17 kg for patients with lateral epicondylitis, and 0.84 kg (affected side) and 1.12 kg (unaffected side) in the carpometacarpal osteoarthritis group; MCID GS estimates were 2.69-2.44 kg in the healthy group without conditions.

Conclusion: Our synthesized evidence indicated that GS assessment is a reliable and valid procedure among healthy participants as well as across various clinical populations. Furthermore, our MCID summary scores provided useful information for evaluating (clinical importance) new interventions regarding hand GS.

Keywords: Hand strength; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Minimal Clinically Important Difference
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Psychometrics