Most trigger digit (TD) patients complain that they have problems using their hand in daily or occupational tasks due to single or multiple digits being affected. Unfortunately, clinicians do not know much about how this disease affects the subtle force coordination among digits during manipulation. Thus, this study examined the differences in force patterns during cylindrical grasp between TD and healthy subjects. Forty-two TD patients with single digit involvement were included and sorted into four groups based on the involved digits, including thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. Twelve healthy subjects volunteered as healthy controls. Two testing tasks, holding and drinking, were performed by natural grasping with minimal forces. The relations between the force of the thumb and each finger were examined by Pearson correlation coefficients. The force amount and contribution of each digit were compared between healthy controls and each TD group by the independent t test. The results showed all TD groups demonstrated altered correlation patterns of the thumb relative to each finger. Larger forces and higher contributions of the index finger were found during holding by patients with index finger involved, and also during drinking by patients with affected thumb and with affected middle finger. Although no triggering symptom occurred during grasping, the patients showed altered force patterns which may be related to the role of the affected digit in natural grasping function. In conclusion, even if only one digit was affected, the subtle force coordination of all the digits was altered during simple tasks among the TD patients. This study provides the information for the future studies to further comprehend the possible injuries secondary to the altered finger coordination and also to adopt suitable treatment strategies. © 2013 Chen et al.
Chen, P. T., Lin, C. J., Jou, I. M., Chieh, H. F., Su, F. C., & Kuo, L. C. (2013). One digit interruption: The altered force patterns during functionally cylindrical grasping tasks in patients with trigger digits. PLoS ONE, 8(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0083632