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Improving Hand Function in Osteoarthritis Patients

Team Members:
  • Gabriel Anfinrud
  • Pamela Chansky
  • Matthew Fernandez
  • Cristina Madalo
  • Ryan Najmi
  • Scott Paul, MD
  • Simon Orozco
  • Moriah Mattson


In the US alone, approximately 23 million people suffer from hand osteoarthritis. This condition causes decreased strength, range of motion, and dexterity, in addition to joint inflammation and pain. These conditions and symptoms contribute to a decrease in hand function, which we define as the actions and operations of the fingers, joints, and muscles of the hand, both as a whole and as their individual parts. The most valuable aspect of joint mobility loss is related to the thumb, as thumb dexterity is what allows humans to grip effectively. Currently, treatment consists of both drug-based and physical therapies. Drug treatments only target symptoms, such as joint inflammation and pain. The existing physical therapy solutions are comprised of a combination of resistance and intensity exercises as well as splinting. None of the existing physical therapy solutions target thumb strength and effectively engage the patient population or track the user’s progress. Our solution engages users in an isometric thumb exercise through a device that measures their applied force and provides feedback to the user and data to the clinician. This solution would allow a larger fraction of the target population to engage in less invasive treatments and improve their hand function.

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