Effects of an eight-week hand exercise program on older women with osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a disease that causes decreases in hand function in the elderly adult and can lead to full disability of the hand. There is no clear cause of osteoarthritis of the hand, although injury and overuse can contribute to development of the disease. Traditional treatments include splinting, paraffin therapy, medications and, in severe cases, joint replacement. Nontraditional therapies include mobility training, therapeutic touch, acupuncture and exercise. The purpose of this study was to explore the non-traditional treatment of hand-strengthening exercise as a way to improve hand function. Specifically, this study evaluated the effects of an eightweek hand exercise program utilizing Hand Exercisers and FlexBars on hand grip strength and dexterity in 13 elderly women aged 70-85 (M=80.4, SD= +/- 4.25) who showed signs and symptoms of hand osteoarthritis, which are pain, stiffness and swelling.. Participants were evaluated before and after the exercise intervention for grip strength, pinch strength, range of motion of the trapeziometacarpal, metacarpophalangeal, interphalangeal and wrist joints, and were timed on a hand dexterity test that involved putting on and buttoning a shirt with ten 3/8th inch buttons. A repeated measures ANOVA was the mode of data analysis. Hand strength significantly improved (p<0.05), as both grip (19%) and pinch (26%) strength showed improvements. In range of motion testing, palmar flexion (12%), interphalangeal flexion (46%), metacarpophalangeal flexion (39%) and wrist extension (11%) showed significant improvements while palmar abduction (12%) and wrist flexion (8%) did not. Hand dexterity also improved as evidenced by a 24% decrease in the amount of time to button a shirt. Pain, stiffness and disability, as measured by the AUSCAN, also decreased significantly, with a 17.3% decrease in means. The results indicate that hand exercise programs can be used to increase hand function while decreasing the signs and symptoms in patients with hand osteoarthritis.
Thesis (M.Ed.)--Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Kinesiology and Sport Studies.
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 33-37).