Credentials Display

Laura Walsh, OTD, OTR/L, CHT
Marie-Christine Potvin, PhD, OTR/L


Background: Grip strength measurement using the handheld dynamometer is a key aspect of the evaluation of an upper extremity injury. The handheld dynamometer manufacturer has established research-based guidelines outlining body positioning during grip strength measurement. However, verbal direction guidelines, while provided, have not yet been shown to be most effective through research. This study seeks to determine whether the use of one of two types of verbal directions, with and without encouragements, resulted in greater grip strength as measured by the handheld dynamometer.

Method: The grip strength of healthy females (n = 60) was compared using two sets of prerecorded verbal directions administered in random order. All other procedures were constant and closely followed a standardized procedure.

Results: A statistically significant difference in the right- and left-hand grip strength (mean difference: 5.55 and 5.74 lb, respectively) was found between the two sets of verbal directions with verbal encouragement eliciting higher strength (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Verbal directions significantly affect grip strength scores in healthy females when evaluated using the handheld dynamometer. Evaluators should use verbal directions with encouragements when seeking to elicit maximum grip strength.


The authors report that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.