Background:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a degenerative disease with typical onset between 20 and 50 years of age. An increase in MS cases has been found in the adolescent US population. Adolescents require fine motor manipulation skills for their functional and academic performance. Deficits in the major components of manipulation skills may result in insufficient function. This study examined the 2-point, 3-point, and lateral pinch strength of adolescents diagnosed as having MS.

Methods:

Seventy-four adolescents, 37 with a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS and a control group of 37 age-matched peers, participated in this study. Data on 2-point, 3-point, and lateral pinch strength in both hands were collected using a pinch meter. Analyses of covariance were used to describe differences across the 2 groups, and effect sizes (Cohen d) were calculated by finding the mean difference between the study groups divided by the pooled SD.

Results:

A significant difference was found in the 2-point pinch strength of the right hand of participants with pediatric MS compared with age- and sex-matched control participants. There were no significant differences in 2-point pinch strength of the left hand or in 3-point or lateral pinch strength of the right and left hands.

Conclusions:

Pinch grasp strength was differentially affected in adolescents with MS. Pinch strength should be assessed and considered in adolescents with MS for a better understanding of their functional performance of fine motor tasks in activities of daily living and academics.

This content is only available as a PDF.