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Individual finger contribution in submaximal voluntary contraction of gripping

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The objective of this study was to evaluate individual finger force and contribution to a gripping force, the difference between actual and expected finger forces and subjective discomfort rating at 10 different submaximal voluntary contraction (%MVC) levels (10–100% in 10 increments). Seventy-two participants randomly exerted gripping force with a multi-finger force measurement system. The individual finger force, gripping force and discomfort increased as %MVC levels increased. The middle and ring fingers exerted more force and contributed to a gripping force more than the index and little fingers due to their larger mass fractions of the digit flexor muscles. It was apparent at <50% MVC; however, the index finger increased its contribution and exerted even more force than expected at more than 50% MVC. Subjective discomfort supported the results of the objective measures. This could explain the conflicting findings between index and ring fingers in previous finger contribution studies.

Statement of Relevance: Hand tool design is of special interest in ergonomics due to its association with musculoskeletal disorders in the hand. This study reveals a different contribution pattern of the fingers in submaximal voluntary contraction of gripping exertion.
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Keywords: discomfort; finger contribution; finger force; gripping force; hand tools and interfaces; industrial ergonomics; product design; submaximal voluntary contraction; upper limb disorders

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Industrial Engineering,Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, South Korea 2: Department of Industrial and Information Systems Engineering,Ajou University, Suwon, South Korea

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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