Effects of muscle fatigue on directional coordination of fingertip forces during precision grip

Wenjing Hu, Na Wei, Zong Ming Li, Ke Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Object manipulation requires well-coordinated force vectors involving both magnitudes and directions. Despite extensive studies about force magnitudes during manipulation, relatively little is known how the muscle fatigue could affect the directional coordination of fingertip forces. This study aims to examine the effects of muscle fatigue on inter-digit coordination of force directions during precision grip. Sixteen female subjects performed precision grip with their thumb and index finger before and after fatigue tasks, which required subjects to produce continuous submaximal pinch strength on the apparatus for a duration more than 200 s. Both their left and right hands were evaluated using the same testing protocol. The means and standard deviations of the coordination angle and the projection angle were applied to quantify the directional coordination across the digits and the force vector direction of each individual digit. Results showed that fatigue led to significant reduction in the mean values of coordination angle and that of projection angle of the index finger in the ipsilateral hand (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, fatigue induced increases in both the standard deviations of coordination angle and projection angle of both digits in the ipsilateral hand (p < 0.05). These results imply that the muscle fatigue could interfere with the grasping stability by altering the directional coordination of all the involved digits and the control of force directions for each individual digit. These findings provide insights into fatigue-related changes of force directional regulation and coordination in dexterous manipulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0208740
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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