Hand performance assessment of ten people with Rheumatoid Arthritis when using a range of specified saucepans

Purpose: The aim of the pilot study was to provide information about the design and use of saucepan handles to enable clinicians and designers to specify and provide products that are more appropriate for use by people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The objectives were: to evaluate aspects of new handle design for saucepans in terms of their ease of use for people with RA; document hand grip strength and configuration (grip patterns); record relevant anthropometric data to aid the development of new designs and perform an assessment of lifting techniques used in conjunction with perceived optimum handle configuration. Method/Results: Observation and video footage show that subjects continued to use familiar, but damaging, ways of lifting the saucepan even after extensive joint protection training by occupational therapists. Grip strengths recorded using a sphygmomanometer were similar to those found by other studies. The anthropometric measurements taken from the sample group were found to be within available anthropometric surveys of able-bodied people. However, hand length within the sample group with RA was longer than the equivalent in surveys of able-bodied subjects. Conclusions: Subjects preferred the narrower handles with some surface texture to the larger and more rounded tapered handles. Large handled saucepans were found not to be viable due to the constraints of UK cooking hob sizes and existing British Standards relating to saucepan specification.