This study evaluated whether a joint-protection strategy changes the mechanics of opening a sealed jar. Thirty-one adult women with hand osteoarthritis attempted to open a “sealed” jar instrument when using and not using nonskid material. Grip force, torque, success, and pain were recorded for each trial. Participants used less grip force when twisting with their left hand. The greatest torque and success, yet the least amount of grip force across time, and pain was noted when the left hand turned the lid, the jar was held vertically, the right hand supported the base, and nonskid material was used. Women with hand osteoarthritis should be educated to consider the hand they use and their approach when opening sealed jars. Use of nonskid material without additional reasoning may increase load on arthritic joints, pain, and dysfunction. Additional research on task kinematics and the kinetics of the stabilizing hand is needed.
Corey McGee, PhD, OTR/L, CHT, is Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Virgil Mathiowetz, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
1) Describe the approach to jar opening that most increased hand pain and grip forces over time
2) Describe the approach to jar opening that best reduced pain and grip forces over time, and resulted in the highest capacity to generate a twisting force
3) Apply the study findings to a case-based scenario
Learning Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants
Content Focus: Category 1: Domain of OT; Category 2: OT Process: Intervention