Effects of carpal tunnel syndrome on reach-to-pinch performance

Raviraj Nataraj, Peter J. Evans, William H. Seitz, Zong Ming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) compromises fine sensorimotor function during activities of daily living. Reach-to-pinch for a small object requires not only dexterity of the grasping digits, but also coordinated transport of the hand to the target. This study examined the effects of CTS on the kinematic performance of reach-to-pinch maneuver. Methods: Eleven CTS subjects and 11 able-bodied (ABL) controls donned markers for motion capture of the hand, thumb and index finger during reach-to-pinch. Subjects were presented with a virtual target they could see without seeing their reaching upper-extremity. Subjects were instructed to reach to and grasp a virtual object as accurately and precisely as possible. Performance was assessed by variability of the movement trajectories of the digits and hand, the accuracy relative to the target, and precision of pinch contact over repetitive trials. Findings: The CTS group demonstrated significantly increased movement variability in inter-pad distance, joint angles, and transport of the hand compared to ABL controls (p<0.01). CTS subjects also exhibited reductions in accuracy (41%) and precision (33%) of their pinch contact location (p<0.05). Interpretation: CTS adversely affects the ability to execute the reach-to-pinch maneuver. Reduced performance was shown in terms of increased variability for both grasp and transport and the ability to locate the grasping digits relative to a target-object. These performance indices could be used for diagnostic and evaluative purposes of CTS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere92063
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 14 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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