Grip and pinch strength: normative data for adults.
The primary purpose of this study was to establish clinical norms for adults aged 20 to 75+ years on four tests of hand strength. A dynamometer was used to measure grip strength and a pinch gauge to measure tip, key, and palmar pinch. A sample of 310 male and 328 female adults, ages 20 to 94, from the seven-county Milwaukee area were tested using standardized positioning and instructions. Right hand and left hand data were stratified into 12 age groups for both sexes. This stratification provides a means of comparing the score of individual patients to that of normal subjects of the same age and sex. The highest grip strength scores occurred in the 25 to 39 age groups. For tip, key, and palmar pinch the average scores were relatively stable from 20 to 59 years, with a gradual decline from 60 to 79 years. A high correlation was seen between grip strength and age, but a low to moderate correlation between pinch strength and age. The newer pinch gauge used in this study appears to read higher than that used in a previous normative study. Comparison of the average hand strength of right-handed and left-handed subjects showed only minimal differences.