Sensorimotor Performance and Function in People With Osteoarthritis of the Hand: A Case-Control Comparison
Magni, N; McNair, P; Rice, D
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Objectives To determine whether hand left/right judgements, tactile acuity, and body perception are impaired in people with hand OA. To examine the relationships between left right judgements, tactile acuity and hand pain. To explore the relationships between sensorimotor measures (left/right judgements and tactile acuity) and measures of hand function in people with hand OA. Methods Twenty patients with symptomatic hand OA and 19 healthy pain-free controls undertook a hand left/right judgment task, a control left/right judgement task, two-point discrimination (TPD) threshold testing (assessing tactile acuity), a neglect-like symptoms questionnaire (assessing body perception) and several established measures of hand function. Results Neglect-like symptoms were experienced more frequently in the hand OA group (P < 0.05). People with hand OA were slower (P < 0.05) and less accurate (P < 0.05) in the hand left/right judgement task when compared to healthy controls, with no significant difference in the control task. Significant associations were found between hand left/right judgement reaction time and pain intensity (P < 0.05) and accuracy and pain intensity (P < 0.05). TPD was not different between groups, and no correlation was found between TPD and left/right judgement performance. No association was found between left/right judgement performance and measures of hand function (all P > 0.05). However, TPD (tactile acuity) was related to several measures of hand function (all P < 0.05). Conclusion People with hand OA had more frequent neglect-like symptoms and were slower and less accurate compared to healthy controls at hand left/right judgments, which was indicative of disrupted working body schema. Future studies may wish to examine whether interventions targeting sensorimotor dysfunction are effective at reducing pain and improving hand function and dexterity in people with hand OA.