Pinch Gauge Norms and Testing Protocols

Norms for Key, Tip, and Palmer Pinch Testing

These Pinch Strength Norm charts are based on the data collected and published by Mathiowetz and colleagues. See here for full publication: Grip and Pinch Strength: Normative Data for Adults  

Adult Pinch Strength Norms: Key, Tip, & Palmer

  • Tip
  • Key
  • Palmer
Tip Pinch Testing Norms by Age and Gender
Key Pinch Testing Norms by Age and Gender
Palmer Pinch Testing Norms by Age and Gender

* Images originally obtained from the Baseline Pinch Gauge User Manual by Fabrication Enterprises

Pinch Strength Testing Protocols Explained

Pinch dynamometers, or pinch meters, provide the objective strength data used for clinical and professionals need but that's only one piece of the puzzle. Factors like: age, height, body weight and gender all need to be accounted for when comparing to pinch strength norms. See tables above for pinch data broken down by age, gender, and pinch test type.

There are 3 standard pinch strength tests are commonly performed within, but not limited to, Occupational and Physical Therapy settings. The Echo Pinch Dynamometer system is a suitable solution for any of the following pinch testing procedures:

  • Tip-To-Tip Pinch (Two-Point Pinch) - The pinch meter is placed between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index finger...
  • Key Pinch (Lateral Pinch) - The pinch meter is placed between the pad of the thumb and the lateral surface of the index finger...
  • Palmar Pinch (Three-Point Pinch or 3-jaw chuck pinch) - The pinch meter is placed between the pad of the thumb and pad of the index and middle fingers...
  • Pulp-to-Pulp Pinch - like the 2-point tip-to-tip pinch, except the pads of the fingers are pressed to the pinch meter rather than the tips…

Pinch Strength Testing Protocols Using Mechanical and Hydraulic Gauges

Pinch Testing Protocol for Mechanical and Hydraulic Pinch Meters

How to Perform Pinch Strength Evaluations

Types of Pinch Strength Tests Explained

How Is Pinch Strength Measured?

Pinch strength evaluation can be a powerful indicator of a person's overall health. To capture this valuable data, practitioners user various pinch strength meters or "Pinch Dynamometers".

Commander Echo Pinch Gauge Dynamometer by JTECH MedicalPinch strength meters help users determine a subject’s functional hand/ pinch strength. This test has significance in including post-offers, job analysis and functional capacity evaluation.

Each variation of pinch test is administered in similar fashion. The practitioner usually demonstrates the process and finger position. The subject should be sitting comfortably with an upright posture.

Then the user will grip the pinch gauge and position fingers according to the Pinch Strength Testing Protocols listed above.

The typical exam consists of 3-5 max effort pinch tests with rest in between. The tester will record each test and record the average of the series. This average is then compared to the Pinch Strength Norms above.

Upon comparison to normative pinch strength data based on age and gender, therapists can tailor treatment plans to best suit each individual.

Applications of Pinch Strength Measurement Systems

Using a pinch strength testing system, like the Commander Echo Pinch Gauge from JTECH, helps Occupational and Physiotherapists objectively measure the functional strength of pinching action of the hand.

These pinch strength testing tools are critical tools in the functional capacity evaluations in job analysis as well as medical settings. These tests provide key insights about a subject’s overall health and/or ability to perform certain tasks effectively.

  • In Workers Compensation Cases - help employers confidently if and when employees are ready to either begin or return to work. Certain professions require extensive use of hands and candidates need to be screened to avoid injury.
  • In Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) Cases - Pinch force gauges help testers estimate the “sincerity of effort” or the “coefficient of variation”. These help employers determine a candidate’s ability to perform tasks requiring manual dexterity and fine motor skills.
  • In “Post Offer” Evaluation Cases - These pinch strength exams help indicate an employee’s predisposition to repetitive motion disorders, like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for example.

Related Article: Learn more about Pinch Strength

Reliable and valid evaluation of hand strength is of paramount importance in determining the effectiveness of various surgical or treatment procedures. In addition, normative data are needed to interpret evaluation data; to set realistic treatment goals; and to assess a patient's ability to return to employment.

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