1.1 Background of the study
Hand is the most influential and powerful parts the upper limb in
daily life. An injury to hand can affect a person’s overall well-being and
health-status. Hence, work-related hand injury may be life
changing for the injured person.
is the most common anatomical site of the body to be injured at any place of
work due to its location and usage. Amina, Muhammad, Aziz and Othman (2015)
were define that hand injury is characterized by injury occurring distal to
proximal wrist crease as well as soft tissue injury to the forearm and fractures
of the carpal bones, distal radius and ulna. Injury in the hand can cause
functional problem in activities in daily living (Mckandawire, Boot,
Braithwaite & Patterson, 2002).
to Bureau of Labor Statistics, during 2013, more
than 1,000,000 hand injuries occurred in the United States alone and the hand
injuries required a median of five days before returning to work. As
cited by Mostafa, Sayed and Osman (2014) revealed that the incidence of injury
at work involved hand were treated in hospital emergency department in United
Stated States affecting 1,080,00 workers every year. Similarly reported by The
National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the most common anatomic sites
injured and were treated in hospital emergency department were fingers and
hands in United States (Barton, 1989).
local statistics provided from Malaysian Social Security Organization (SOCSO)
Annual Report (2016), the number reported accidents has increased by 3,781
cases or 6.02% to 66,618 cases compared to 62,837 cases in 2015. Number of
accidents that involved upper limb, specifically fingers is the highest with
total 7,159 cases followed by the hand, wrist and forearm with total 4,851
cases, 1,105 cases and 326 cases respectively. The majority of hand injuries
occurred four percents more in male than female in 2016.
Hand is the significant part of the body used by the worker to
operate tools or machinery (Bell et al., 2011). According to the Malaysian
Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), work-related injuries
until October 2017 occur mostly in sector such as manufacturing, construction
A worker with hand injury suffer reduced hand functions including
grip and pinch strength, fine motor skill, dexterity, decreased range of motion
(ROM) in involved hand (Chang et al., 2011). As the result, the hand deficits affected
by hand injury can cause upper limb disability to perform activities of daily
As it known that, hand functions after hand injury was
traditionally evaluated by using objective measures to identify impairments (Karnezis
& Fragkiadakis, 2002). However,
in a study by Macdermid, Richard, Donner & Bellamy (2000) found that those
objectives measure only may not reflect overall level of function and
performance to use the injured hand in everyday life. The Disability of Arm,
Shoulder and Hand (DASH) is the activity-level outcome questionnaire which
proved by the World Health Organization (WHO) model of health that able to
measure subjective impairments and activity limitation, as well as
participation restrictions in ADL (Wong et al., 2007). Thus, it is important to assess not only the
impairments but also to determine how the impairments will impact the daily
With the current limited literature regarding the fine motor skill
and level of disability after hand injuries, this study will focus on to
determine the relationship between fine motor skill and level of disability
based on DASH score among adult workers with hand injuries. This study also
determine whether demographic characteristic of worker with hand injuries such
as gender, age, race, hand dominance, occupation status and history of injury are
related to level of disability as previous study provided insufficient data
regarding those variables.
1.2 Problem Statement
of the previous studies proved that factor relating hand functions such as grip
strength, pinch strength and also demographic characteristics on level of
disability are significantly related to each other. However, there is
inadequate data regarding the correlation of fine motor skill and the level of
disability based on DASH score which may affecting the performance of hand among
adult worker population with hand injuries.
1.3 Research questions
There were specific four questions to answer in this study:
What is the level of fine motor skill among adult workers with hand
What is the level of disability in adult workers with hand
What is the association between demographic characteristics and
What is the magnitude of relationship between fine motor skill and
1.4 Aim of study
The main aim of this study was to investigate the
relationship between fine motor skill and DASH score among adult workers with hand injuries.
1.5 Objectives of study
To determine the level of fine motor skill among adult workers with
To determine the level of disability in adult workers with hand
To investigate the association between demographic characteristics
(gender, age, race, hand dominance, occupation status and history of injury)
and DASH score.
To examine the magnitude of relationship between fine motor skill
and DASH score.
Fine motor skill and DASH score.
There is no association between fine motor skill and DASH score.
There is association between fine motor skill and DASH score.
Demographic characteristics and DASH score.
There is no association between demographic characteristics and DASH score.
There is association between demographic characteristics and DASH score.
1.6 Significant of the study
This study offers the opportunity to understand hand fine motor
skill among adult workers with hand injuries and the association between fine
motor skill using Purdue Pegboard Test (PPT) and level of hand performance
assessed by DASH. It is also useful and enhances occupational therapists’
understanding of the participants’ on how they perceived their disability and
to detect and level of function.
The result of
this study basically could be helpful for occupational therapist to promote the
proper assessment of hand injuries and to assist in effective treatment
planning process and intervention during hand injury rehabilitation.
Besides, this study is can embrace the core concept of occupational
therapists’ roles in hand rehabilitation by grounding the true identity of our
profession and incorporating the aspects of level of functioning in everyday
activities rather than solely focusing on the specific hand deficits.
2: Literature Review
Fine motor skill is used interchangeably with dexterity. The hand
fine motor skill is important for one to perform delicate movement and to
engage in daily activities such as writing, grasping or handling object,
eating, grooming, buttoning and working (Backman et al., 1992; Williams et al,
1982; as cited in Sahin et al., 2017).
Fine motor skill was defined as the ability to use hand skillfully
characterized by fine and voluntary movement in task that required to
manipulating small object (Yancosek &
Howell, 2009; Weintraub, Gilmour-Grill, & Weiss, 2010). It was also
a synchronization of small muscles in the hands and fingers as well the eyes
that work together to provide coordination (Cuffaro, 2011). According to
Wiesendanger & Serrien (2001) stated that speed, force and dexterity are
among basic physiological mechanism in order a normal person to manipulate
Fine motor skill is one of the hand functions that paramount in
hand evaluation of neuromotor function of the hand, which involves integration
of motor and sensory function. There are many performance-based standardized
assessments which developed to assess hand fine motor skill include the Jebsen-
Tailor Hand Functional Test (JTHFT) (Jebsen, Taylor, Trieschmann, Trotter &
Howard, 1969), the Functional Dexterity
Test (FDT) (Aaron & Jansen, 1992), the Purdue Pegboard Test (PPT) (Tiffin
& Asher, 1948), the Box AND Block Test (BBT) (Mathiowetz, Volland, Kashman,
& Weber, 1985), the NK Hand Dexterity Board (NKHDT) (Turgeon, McMerDermid,
& Roth,1999) and the Nine-hole Peg Test (NHPT) (Mathiowtz, Weber, Kashman,
& Volland, 1985). All these assessments can be used to assess the hand fine
motor skill in both neurological and musculoskeletal disorder.
2.1 Fine motor
skill and Performance of Hand in Daily Activities
The measure of hand impairments in hand condition such as grip
strength, pinch strength, fine motor skills or dexterity was linked to The
International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)
component of body function (World Health Organization, 2015). Although there
has been many literature studied the relationship between hand impairments and
how it can impact the activity limitation however, the literature on changes specifically in
hand fine motor skills on performance in daily life in people with hand injury
In a study on patients with polymyositis and dermatomyositis, the patients
with reduced hand grip strength and dexterity also demonstrated activity
limitation according to the DASH (Regardt, 2014). Recent
study by Malcus et al., (2015) found that 42
percent of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus experienced hand problem reported interference with
performance of daily activities. He and his colleagues also stated that the
most affected area was productivity while the least affected was self care. In
that study, pain, fumbling and reduced grip strength were the most significant
2.2 Factor affecting fine motor skill
Abundant research has been testified the factor such as age, gender,
dominant hand and finger thickness affecting the fine motor skill on health
people (Wang et al., 2014; Bryden & Roy, 2005; Peters & Champagnaro,
1996; Peters, Servos & Day, 1990; Martin et., 2015). While the other study
on 242 patients with distal radius fracture (DRF) from Bobos (2016) found that age
and gender was determine as significant predictor for fine motor skill.
Increasing age was
proved positively correlate with poor hand function skill (Michimata et
al,2008; Wang et al., 2014). In previous
studies by Michimata et al., (2008) and Sartorio et al., (2013) stated that
people older than 50 years found to be worse in fine motor skill compared to
Similar with a study by
Wang et al., (2014) also revealed that fine motor skill that measured based on
NHPT in younger people was better than in older people, as expected. Moreover,
the result of recent study also showed that net
time of Functional Dexterity Test (FDT) was significantly higher in higher age
group. For ages 20-39 years, ages 40-59 years and older than 60 years, the net
time were 24 seconds, 27 seconds and 37 seconds respectively (Sahin et al.,
This is because, both
motor and sensory function in older people have reduced with increasing age
(Desrosiers et al., 1999). Reduced motor and sensory function in fine motor
skill are characterized by slower, less nimble and less smooth, less
coordinated and less control performances (Martin et al., 2015).
Many research has shown that gender was associated with
fine motor skill score measured with different type of assessments (Peters
& Campagnaro, 1996; Mathiowetz et al.,1985; Bryden & Roy, 2005;
Amirjani et al, 2007; Wang et al., 2014; Ng et al, 1999).
In a study comparing gender difference using PPT, the result
revealed that women have better performance of hand fine motor skill compared
to men (Peters & Campagnaro, 1996). There are also few studies that
consistently reported female were performing much better in Grooved Pegboard
Test (GPT) (Bryden & Roy, 2005), NHPT (Wang et al., 2014), Moberg Pick-Up
Test (MPUT) (Amirjani et al., 2007) and Box and Block Test (BBT) (Mathiowetz et
However in a study by Bobos (2016), he was comparing
the ability of individual with (DRF) to manipulate object against time using NK
Hand Dexterity Test (NKHDT). He discovered that men had better score time than
women. According to size of objects in NKHDT, men also
manipulate large and medium objects faster in the 3 to 6-month period after
Dominant hand has been reported manipulate faster in hand fine
motor skill tests (Bryden & Roy, 2005; Michimata et al., 2008; and Wang et
al., 2014 as cited in Sahin et al., 2017).
Two studies examined the relation of hand dominance with fine motor
skills using FDT among children and adult separately. Gogola et al., (2013)
found that children performed 0.09 pegs/ second faster in dominant hand than
non-dominant hand. While in a cross sectional study of healthy adult
population, dominant hand also reported score better compared to non-dominant
hand despite in of all age group (Sahin et al.,2017).
the findings of the study by Peters and Campagnaro
(1996), they found that males show better
performance for holding thick pegs, whereas females show better performance for holding thin pegs. In that study,
when the pegs are held with tweezers, the
difference between males and females was no
longer significant because the tweezers minimized the effect of finger thickness as the determining factor.
On the other hand, Peters et al., (1990) as cited in Sahin et al., (2017) found a negative
correlation between test performance and finger size for both genders and
suggested that finger thickness is associated with the test result.
study was conducted with GPT so that the result was more comparable to the
Bryden and Roy (2005) found that females performed 7 seconds
faster in the GPT. The interesting finding explained by the fact that males
usually have thicker fingers while the women have thinner fingers.
Chapter 3: Methodology
3.1 Study design
This study was conducted using
cross-sectional study because it is quick, easy and cheap to conduct and
researcher was able to collect data in short period of time (Sedgwick, 2014). This
study do not involved experimental procedure and no variables are manipulated
by the researcher therefore, there will be no loss to follow up because
participants were interviewed and assessed only once.
In addition, correlation study was used to
see whether the two variables in this study are related and it provided
predictions of relationship between those two variables as well. Therefore, the
data collected will be used to predict the relationship between fine motor
skill, level disability and demographic characteristics among adult workers
with hand injuries.
Participants were eligible to participate in the study if they met
with all the inclusion criteria. Participants were adult workers aged between
18 to 60 years old either male or female. Participants presented with
unilateral injury to the bone, tendon, and nerve or combined from hand up to
forearm were also included. Participants were fully informed about the
procedure and informed consent was signed by all participants once the
participants read the Participant Information and Consent form which provided
during the early data procedure.
Participants were excluded if the
participants presented with multiple injuries or other than hand injuries, hand
deficits due to neurological and medical problem, peripheral neuropathy,
cumulative trauma disorder injury, sprain or strain injury and diagnosed with
psychological illness or dementia.
3.3 Sampling method
Power calculation for this study was performed using G-power
software. A total of 115 participants recruited in this study had shown
reliable results allowing credible conclusion to be made at p