WASHINGTON, DC —  Patients with hand osteoarthritis (OA) can benefit from non-pharmacological treatment in a structured arthritis rehabilitation program, according to a study presented at the American College of Rheumatology 2016 annual conference.  

Forty-nine individuals participated in a 6 week study at a primary care center in Sweden, enrolled from 2008 and 2011. Patients were scored in their ability to complete the Grip Ability Test (GAT), Signal of Functional Impairment (SOFI) test, and grip strength on the JAMAR hydraulic hand dynamometer.  

To assess activity limitation, the Patient Specific Functional Scale (PSFS) and the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulders, and Hand (Quick-DASH) were used. Evaluations were performed at baseline, after three months, and after one year by occupational therapists. Participants had a mean age of 69 and were 92% female.

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The results showed that the participants’ hand function, grip strength, range of motion, and grip ability improved from baseline to three months (P < .001 – P < .011), as well as one year (<.001 – P <.004). Activity limitations decreased during the same periods (0.001-0.008 and 0.013, respectively).  PSFS and Quick-DASH scores were also decreased over the one year time period (P < .001 – P < .008 and P < .001 – P <.013, respectively).

Researchers indicated that a hand OA program is a useful non-pharmacological group treatment in primary care as it improves hand function and activity limitation.


Brodin N, Bjurehed L, Björk M. Effectiveness of a six-week hand osteoarthritis program in a primary care setting. Presented at: ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting; November 11-16, 2016; Washington D.C. Abstract #3221. 

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