Distal radial metaphyseal forces in an extrinsic grip model: Implications for postfracture rehabilitation

Matthew D. Putnam, Nicholas J. Meyer, Eric W. Nelson, David Gesensway, Jack L. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to establish the relationship between force at the distal radius and power grip force of the hand, a common functional and rehabilitation maneuver. This information will provide limits of allowable grip forces during postfixation rehabilitation and guide design requirements for fixation systems. By designing a model of power grip using the extrinsic hand musculotendinous units, we were able to compare grip force with force at the distal radius. Our results show that to obtain 10 N of grip force, approximately 26.3 N of force is transmitted through the distal radius, 52.4 N is transmitted through the radius and ulna combined, and 30.0 N needs to be applied to the flexor tendons. Fifty-one percent of the total forearm force was transmitted through the distal radius in this model. If all forearm forces were transmitted through the radius, 52 N of force would be transmitted through the distal radius to obtain 10 N of grip force. The clinical application of this model suggests that since failure forces of tested distal radius fixation systems range from 55 to 825 N, rehabilitation grip force should not exceed 10 to 159 N, depending on the type of fixation. Copyright (C) 2000 by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-475
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the University of Minnesota Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and a grant from the Minnesota Medical Foundation (ORTTA Grant No. 1743-641-6053).


  • Biomechanics
  • Distal radius
  • Fixation strength
  • Grip modeling
  • Rehabilitation


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