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Ann Rheum Dis. 2005 Nov;64(11):1633-8. Epub 2005 Apr 13.

Activity limitations and participation restrictions in women with hand osteoarthritis: patients' descriptions and associations between dimensions of functioning.

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Diakonhjemmet Sykehus, Boks 23 Vinderen, 0319 Oslo, Norway.



To describe the functional consequences of hand osteoarthritis, and analyse associations between personal factors, hand impairment, activity limitations, and participation restrictions within the framework of the International Classification of Functioning (ICF).


87 women with hand osteoarthritis completed a clinical examination including recording of sociodemographic data, measures of hand impairment, and completion of self reported health status measures. The function subscale of the AUSCAN Osteoarthritis Hand Index was used as a measure of hand related activity limitations, while the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) was used to describe and measure activity limitations and participation restrictions as perceived by the individual. The study variables were categorised using the dimensions in the ICF framework and analysed using bivariate and multivariate statistical approaches.


The patients described problems in many domains of activity and participation. The most frequently described hand related problems were activities requiring considerable grip strength combined with twisting of the hands. On the impairment level, the patients had reduced grip force and joint mobility in the hands, and resisted motion was painful. Regression analyses showed that hand related activity limitations were associated with measures of hand impairment, while activity and participation (as measured by the COPM) were more strongly associated with personal factors than with hand impairment.


Hand osteoarthritis has important functional consequences in terms of pain, reduced hand mobility and grip force, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. Rehabilitation programmes should therefore be multidisciplinary and multidimensional, focusing on hand function, occupational performance, and coping strategies.

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