Pinch Strength Test

The purpose of this test is to measure the maximum isometric strength of the hand and forearm muscles when doing a pinching action. It is similar to the handgrip strength test, but testing the pinching strength of the fingers. The pinch strength test is not to be confused with the similarly called skinfold pinch test.

equipment required: pinch gauge or pinch meter (e.g. B&L Pinch Gauge)

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender. Record hand dominance. Perform a standard warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.

procedure: For all pinch tests, the subject should be seated comfortably, with shoulder adducted, and elbow flexed to 90 degrees (parallel to the ground). There are several types of pinch tests which vary the way that the gauge is held:

scoring: The subject should be strongly encouraged to give a maximum effort. The best result from several trials for each hand is recorded, with at least 15 seconds recovery between each effort. Results are expected to differ between male and females, between left and right (dominant and non-dominant) hands, and with age. See the norm tables below for some expected results (Mathiowetz et al.).

Norm Table for Tip-to-Tip Pinch or 2-Point Pinch (measured in pounds)

Age Hand Mean Mean
20-24 R 18.0 23.0
L 17.0 33.0
25-29 R 18.3 34.0
L 17.5 36.0
30-34 R 17.6 25.0
L 17.6 27.0
35-39 R 18.0 27.0
L 17.7 24.0
40-44 R 17.8 25.0
L 17.7 25.0
45-49 R 18.7 30.0
L 17.6 28.0
50-54 R 18.3 24.0
L 17.8 26.0
55-59 R 16.6 24.0
L 15.0 26.0
60-64 R 15.8 22.0
L 15.3 23.0
65-69 R 17.0 27.0
L 15.4 21.0
70-74 R 13.8 21.0
L 13.3 21.0
75+ R 14.0 21.0
L 13.9 25.0

Norm Table for Lateral or Key Pinch (measured in pounds)

Age Hand Males Females
20-24 R 26.0 17.6
L 24.8 16.2
25-29 R 26.7 17.7
L 25.0 16.6
30-34 R 26.4 18.7
L 26.2 17.8
35-39 R 26.1 16.6
L 25.6 16.0
40--44 R 25.6 16.7
L 25.1 15.8
45-49 R 25.8 17.6
L 24.8 16.6
50-54 R 26.7 16.7
L 26.1 16.1
55-59 R 24.2 15.7
L 23.0 14.7
60-64 R 23.2 15.5
L 22.2 14.1
65--69 R 23.4 15.0
L 22.0 14.3
70-74 R 19.3 14.5
L 19.2 13.8
75+ R 20.5 12.6
L 19.1 11.4

Norm Table for Palmar Pinch or 3-Point Pinch (measured in pounds)

Age Hand Mean Mean
20-24 R 26.6 17.2
L 25.7 16.3
25-29 R 26.0 17.7
L 25.1 17.0
30-34 R 24.7 19.3
L 25.4 18.1
35-39 R 26.2 17.5
L 25.9 17.1
40-44 It 24.5 17.0
L 24.8 16.6
45-49 R 24.0 17.9
L 23.7 17.5
50-54 R 23.8 17.3
L 24.0 16.4
55-59 R 23.7 16.0
L 21.3 15.4
60-64 R 21.8 14.8
L 21.2 14.3
65-69 R 21.4 14.2
L 21.2 13.7
70-74 R 18.1 14.4
L 18.8 14.0
75+ R 18.7 12.0
L 18.3 11.5

target population: the pinch test is commonly used by occupational therapists or physiotherapists to measure the functional strength of the pinching action

comments: It is also useful to record whether the subject is left or right handed, as this may help in the interpretation of results.

reference: Mathiowetz, Virgil & Kashman, Nancy & Volland, Gloria & Weber, Karen & Dowe, Mary & Rogers, Sandra. (1985). Grip and Pinch Strength: Normative data for adults. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 66. 69-74.

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