Orthopedists check the strength of the hand by testing how effectively the patient is able to utilize lateral (key) pinch and pulp pinch.
The pinch strength test evaluates the intrinsic and extrinsic hand muscles and shows how much power the patient demonstrates in these muscles. Observing a patient’s ability to pinch and measuring this ability with a pinch meter will indicate whether the patient has symptoms of illness such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome.
Poor pinch strength arises from a weakness in the intrinsic and extrinsic hand muscles.
- Ask the patient to demonstrate lateral (key) pinch and pulp pinch with the affected hand.
- Observe if the patient is able to perform these kinds of pinches with the affected hand.
- Use a pinch meter to measure the strength of the pinches.
- Try the other hand for a comparison.
- Ask the patient to grip repeatedly at an increased speed. Check if there is a decrease in force, compared with static testing.
Related Signs and Tests