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A Journal on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation after Pathological Events

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (SIMFER), European Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ESPRM), European Union of Medical Specialists - Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Section (UEMS-PRM), Mediterranean Forum of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (MFPRM), Hellenic Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (EEFIAP)
In association with International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM)
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Europa Medicophysica 2001 September;37(3):161-70


language: English

The hand grip: gender, dominance and age considerations

Sella G. E.

From the Ohio Valley Disability Institute Martins Ferry, OH, USA


Back­ground. ­This ret­ro­spec­tive ­study of the ­hand ­grip eval­u­ated the ­hand ­grip ­strength and the var­i­ables of ­hand dom­i­nance and ­gender dif­fer­ences in a ­large pop­u­la­tion ­sample of USA ­adult men and ­women.
­Methods. Experi­mental ­design: ­this eval­u­a­tion was ­based on ret­ro­spec­tive ­data of ­hand ­grip ­tests per­formed by 875 indi­vid­uals (1750 ­hands) of ­both gen­ders, ­ranging in age ­from 19-91. The ­testing was ­done ­with ­Jamar dyna­mom­e­ters on ­both ­hands (­average ­values) at ­handle ­levels I, III & V. Set­ting: the ­testing was con­ducted in an occu­pa­tional ­physician’s ­office. Par­tic­i­pants: ­hand ­grip was per­formed rou­tinely on eva­luees for the pur­pose of dis­ability eval­u­a­tion and in the ­course of ­annual phys­ical exam­ina­tions of ­patients. No par­tic­i­pant had any ­upper ­limb ­pathology or dys­func­tion. The par­tic­i­pants ­were eval­u­ated ­also in ­terms of the ­body ­mass ­index (B.M.I). No ­gender dif­fer­ence was ­found in the BMI Inter­ven­tions: the ­hand ­grip ­testing was not inva­sive. ­None of the par­tic­i­pants had any reac­tions, ­side ­effects or symp­toms ­related to the ­hand ­grip ­testing. Meas­ures: (1) anthro­po­metric ­data on the ­sample of 875 per­sons (1750 ­hands); (2) sta­tis­tical ­data gath­ered on the ­right and ­left ­hand ­grip (kgs) at ­three ­handle posit­iors of the ­Jamar ­hand dyna­mom­eter. ­They ­included the fol­lowing param­e­ters: (a) ­average ­hand ­grip ­strength strat­i­fied for age ­groups (b) stan­dard devi­a­tion and co-effi­cient of vari­a­tion for the ­same strat­ifi­ca­tions; (c) ­left ­versus ­right ­hand ­grip ­strength ­ratio (%) for the gen­ders and the strat­i­fied ­groups; (d) ­female/­male ­ratio (%) of ­grip ­force at the 6 dyna­mom­eter posi­tions.
­Results. The ­results of ­this ­study ­done on 1750 ­hands indi­cated the fol­lowing: a) The ­hand ­grip ­strength and pat­tern of the ­male ­gender (964 ­hands) was 30.6 kg, 37 kg & 25.9 kg at ­handle posi­tions I, III & V respec­tively. b) The ­hand ­grip ­strength and ­pattem of the ­female ­gender (794 ­hands) was 16.3 kg, 19.2 kg & 13.8 kg at ­handle posi­tions I, III & V respec­tively. c) ­When the ­grip pat­tern by posi­tion ­data ­were nor­mal­ized to the ­grip ­value of posi­tion III, ­both gen­ders dem­on­strated a sim­ilar “­umbrella pat­tern”. ­Thus for 1750 ­hands, the nor­mal­ized ­grip ­pattern is 76%, 100% & 69% for posi­tions I, III & V respec­tively. ­Even ­though the ­grip ­strength was dif­ferent for the two gen­ders, the ­study ­showed ­that the ­human ­hand had the ­above nor­mal­ized pat­tern for the ­three ­handle posi­tions, irre­spec­tive of ­gender. d) The ­study ­showed ­that the ­hand ­grip ­varied ­with age. It ­increased to max­imum ­till the age ­group 30-39 in the ­female ­gender and ­decreased there­after. The pat­tern was sim­ilar in the ­male ­gender ­although the max­imal ­grip ­strenght was ­shown in the age ­group 20-29. e) A ­greater ­strength was ­shown by ­hand dom­i­nance in ­only 53% of ­cases. 32% of ­cases ­showed ­greater ­strength for the non-domi­nant ­hand. 15% of ­cases ­showed ­equal ­hand ­grip ­whether the per­sons ­were ­right or ­left ­hand dom­i­nant. ­These find­ings ­were irre­spec­tive of ­gender.
Con­clu­sions. ­This is the ­largest ­study of the ­hand ­grip by ­gender, age and ­hand dom­i­nance to ­date in ­terms of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. The ­data ­shown in the ­results sec­tion and in the ­text ­tables can be uti­lized as nor­ma­tive ­data ­until ­larger ­studies are ­done. The ­results ­showed ­that men and ­women ­have a sim­ilar ­grip pat­tern in ­terms of ­hand dyna­mom­etry on the ­Jamar dyna­mom­eter, ­when the ­testing is ­done in stan­dard­ized ­fashion. The ­study dis­pelled the old ­myth of the ­greater ­strength “by 10%” of the dom­i­nant ­hand. Dyna­mom­etry is an objec­tive ­method ­which ­allows indi­vidual com­par­ison ­with the data­base by age and ­gender.

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