Hand dynamometers are instruments that are used to test the hand grip strength. They are also used for a comparative measurement in left and right hands. Any type of hand trauma or dysfunction can be assessed with the help of these devices. Also the effectiveness of treatment can be judged during the period of recovery. Modern dynamometers come equipped with features like a digital display. Many types of dynamometers exist including Strain Gauge Dynamometer or Push-Pull Dynamometer, Hydraulic Gauge Dynamometer and Pneumatic Dynamometer. These devices can also be used to measure strength of arm, back or leg in order to evaluate the physical performance. Dynamometers measure the force applied to the lever or by pulling the cable. The measurement (moment of force) is determined by multiplying the two quantities (Perpendicular distance from the force x Axis of the level).
It is the most commonly used of all types of dynamometers. These machines are accurate and reliable. They consist of a plastic or metal grip that the patient holds and compresses. The result is displayed via a gauge or a digital display.
These dynamometers contain a ball at the end of the tube which the patient is required to squeeze based on which the measurement is taken and displayed.
These instruments are more sensitive and are basically designed for people with a weak or frail grip. These dynamometers are used for patients with certain neuromuscular disorders.
These machines measure the force exerted through a push or a pull. Static/isometric or dynamic forces are used for measurement. Lifting capacity, push or pull strength can be tested using these dynamometers.
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Dynamometers are helpful in assessing the strength in routine screenings, and to evaluate patients with hand dysfunction or trauma at the initial level. These medical devices help medical practitioners to determine how their patients are responding to ongoing therapy or treatment.
Types of Dynamometers
Hydraulic Gauge Dynamometer - features a curved plastic or metal grip that patients hold and squeeze.
Pneumatic Dynamometer - It utilizes a rubber squeeze ball on the end of a tube, pneumatic dynamometers require the patient to squeeze the ball and this force is measured by a gauge at the other end of the tube.
Myogrip/Strain Gauge Dynamometer – also known as strain gauge dynamometer is more sensitive and specifically designed to measure grip strength for patients who are weak, frail and present a lighter grip.
Push-Pull Dynamometer - This type of dynamometer measures exerted force through pushing or pulling, often using static/isometric and dynamic forces.
Grip strength is expected to be different between the left and right hands. Generally the dominant hand will be stronger. The non-dominant hand usually scores about 10% lower. When you test hand grip strength, you could either test both hands and average the score, or test everyone on the same side, or test everyone on their dominant side. There is no right and wrong way, whatever method suits the specific purpose will work for you.
It may be difficult for a child's hand to grip the dynamometer well and the unit may be quite heavy to hold for a child.
The position of the arm and hand can vary in different grip strength protocols. Various positions include the elbow being held at right angles, the arm hanging by the side, and the extended arm being swung from above the head to by the side during the squeezing motion can cause differences in measurements. The best result from several trials for each hand should be recorded, with at least 15 seconds recovery time between each effort.