Both hand function [as seen through the coordination between grip force (GF) and load force (LF)] and the ability to produce a submaximal force quickly (i.e., neuromuscular quickness) are two important qualities of motor function that could be seriously affected by the presence of neurological diseases. Therefore, their quantitative assessment is very important in clinical settings. Within this study, we aimed to develop, standardize, and measure the within-session reliability of a clinically meaningful test that assesses both hand function and neuromuscular quickness simultaneously. Thirteen healthy young adults produced around 90 rapid isometric LF pulses to varying submaximal magnitudes by either pulling down or pulling up on an externally fixed GF- and LF-measuring device. Results revealed high indices of force coordination (i.e., GF scaling as assessed by GF/LF and GF coupling as assessed by maximum cross-correlation between GF and LF) in both force directions, while GF coupling was higher in downward than in upward direction (p < 0.001). Regarding the indices of neuromuscular quickness (i.e., the regression parameters obtained from the relationship between peak force and it’s rate of development and half-relaxation time), results, in general, revealed a higher slope (named as rate of force development scaling factor; p < 0.01), similar R2 (p > 0.05), and shorter half-relaxation time (p < 0.05) for LF than for GF. Furthermore, all of the selected variables showed moderate to excellent within-session reliability with only 45 pulses. Findings suggest that brief force production tasks should be further evaluated as clinical tests of hand function and neuromuscular quickness in various populations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes