Author(s): Schreuders TA, Selles RW, Roebroeck ME, Stam HJ
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Abstract Numerous neurological diseases are accompanied by atrophy of the intrinsic muscles of the hand. Muscle strength testing of these muscles is frequently used for clinical decision making. Traditionally, these strength measurements have focused on manual muscle testing (MMT) or on grip and pinch strength dynamometry. We have developed a hand-held dynamometer, the Rotterdam Intrinsic Hand Myometer (RIHM), to measure this intrinsic muscle strength. The RIHM was designed such that it can measure a wide range of muscle groups, such as the abduction and adduction strength of the little finger and index finger, the opposition, palmar abduction (anteposition) and opposition strength of the thumb, and intrinsic muscles of the fingers combined in the intrinsic plus position. We found that the reliability of RIHM measurements in nerve injury patients was comparable to grip and pinch strength measurements and is appropriate to study the functional recovery of the intrinsic muscles of the hand in isolation. We have applied the RIHM in a recent study on the long-term outcome of muscle strength in patients with ulnar and median nerve injuries and found that while recovery of grip and pinch strength was relatively good, recovery of the ulnar nerve innervated muscles measured with the RIHM was poor. This poor recovery could not be detected with manual muscle strength testing or with grip and pinch dynamometry. We conclude that the RIHM provides an accurate clinical assessment of the muscle strength of the intrinsic hand muscles that adds valuable information to MMT and grip and pinch dynamometry.
This article was published in J Hand Ther
and referenced in Journal of Pain & Relief