New Measure of Hand Strength Can Assess Disease Severity, Patient Fitness

New Measure of Hand Strength Can Assess Disease Severity, Patient Fitness
A new device that measures handgrip strength in people with fibromyalgia has the potential to overcome some of the limitations of current hand-held dynamometers, researchers in Italy that developed the device reported. The cylindrical-shape tool also confirmed weaker handgrip strength in these patients, directly correlating it with disease severity. The study, “Force-time curve features of handgrip strength in fibromyalgia syndrome,” was published in the journal Scientific Reports.   Fibromyalgia patients often see their physical fitness lessen at their disease progresses, including a loss in muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. Previous studies have reported that women with fibromyalgia have 20% to 36% less strength compared to healthy women. Handgrip strength is defined as the maximum amount of force a person can generate with each hand. In addition to assessing the status of a patient's hand, this parameter can be used as a measure of overall muscle strength, which is related to physical fitness.    "In healthy subjects, HGs [handgrip strength] is correlated to knee extension strength and can therefore be a surrogate for the strength of other muscle groups," the researchers wrote. "From this point of view, a relative simple measurement of the HGs can reflect a general assessment of muscle fitness in FM patients." Traditional methods of measuring the maximum (peak) handgrip force use devices called dynamometers. However, these devices fall short when it comes to evaluate several characteristics of hand strength, including force generation speed, sustainability, and force variability over time. “The force evaluated by ... dynamometers is essentially unidirectional since the handle only allows a movement from the fingers to the prox
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