Patients With Dupuytren Disease Use Excessive Grip Force When Lifting and Holding Small Objects, Independent of the Degree of Contracture

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2023 Mar 7;S0003-9993(23)00113-2. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2023.02.010. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To identify the extent and quality of fine motor skill alteration in patients with Dupuytren disease (DD) using an instrumented device measuring grip forces, beyond the commonly used measurement of contracture.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: University outpatient clinic.

Participants: Patients with DD (N=27) and a contracture >45° (Tubiana stage II, III, and IV) were included and compared with age-matched healthy control patients (N=27).

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures(s): All individuals were subjected to a set of specific tests using a new instrumented device ("manipulandum"). These included lifting, grasping, and then holding the "manipulandum" with 4 different object characteristics (light and heavy weight, rough and smooth surface) along with a measurement of the precision grip strength. Standard measurements including the Nine-Hole Peg Test, a two-point discrimination, and the Disability of Arm, Shoulder and Hand score were evaluated in comparison.

Results: Although the measurements of precision grip, two-point discrimination, Nine-Hole Peg Test, and Disability of Arm, Shoulder and Hand score showed no statistically significant differences between both groups, patients with DD applied significantly greater forces when tested with the different subtests using the "manipulandum." Analysis of the 2-phase movement (lifting and holding the "manipulandum") revealed highly significant differences between the groups.

Conclusions: Patients with DD use excessive grip forces when lifting and holding the "manipulandum" when compared with healthy control patients, independent of the degree of contracture. As no differences in precision grip strength were seen, the presented approach is useful to obtain additional important information about fine motor function in diseased hands.

Keywords: Dupuytren disease; Flexion-contracture; Grip strength; Motor disorders; Physical examination.