Pinch Meter

Also known as:  pinch gauge, hydraulic pinch gauge.

What is a pinch meter?

A pinch meter is a medical instrument that is used to test digital strength in the form of three different types of pinches. It primarily serves as a diagnostic and assessment tool.

  • The lateral/key pinch can be used to screen for ulnar nerve injuries (weakness of the adductor pollicis or 1st dorsal interosseus).
  • The tip pinch can be used to screen for anterior interosseous nerve weakness.
  • The 3 point/3 jaw chuck pinch can be used to screen for median nerve injuries or carpal metacarpal degenerative joint disease.

What happens during the test?

The patient uses their fingers to apply pressure onto the pinch meter, or pinch gauge. This can be done in a few different ways, depending on what pinch style is being tested. One pinch test is the three jaw chuck, where the thumb pinches in opposition against the index and long finger. The lateral pinch, or key where the thumb pinches against the radial side of the index finger as if holding a key. And the final test is a tip pinch where the thumb pinches opposite pad of the index finger. The patient exerts as much pressure as they can for a few seconds.

The therapist takes the average of 3 trials for each type of pinch, alternating from one hand to the other. Positioning during the test should be shoulder adducted, elbow at 90 degrees and forearm in neutral.

Is any special preparation needed?

No special preparation is needed for this test.

What are the risk factors?

There are no risk factors related to a pinch meter test.


Reviewed by: Yvette Elias

This page was last updated on: December 04, 2019 12:26 PM

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