Interactions between fingers during rapid force pulse production

2019-06-10T20:46:20Z (GMT) by Marissa Munoz-Ruiz Satyajit S. Ambike
Manual function is a key determinant of functional independence. It is well known that manual dexterity declines with aging and negatively impacts quality of life. Therefore, much work has focused on understanding the biomechanics and motor control of manual function in general, and the action of the fingers in particular. Previous research has revealed consistent patterns of interdependence in the action of the fingers that (1) alter with age, and (2) have consequences for manual control, and thereby manual function. Most of this previous work on finger behavior quantifies finger capacities and interactions in terms of maximal forces. However, activities of daily living likely require individuals to rapidly change forces more frequently than produce maximal forces. Therefore, the present work quantifies, for the first time, finger capacities and interactions during rapid increase and decrease in finger forces, and how these quantities change with age.

Young and older adults performed maximal force production tasks and also tasks that required them to rapidly increase or decrease finger forces from three initial force levels using multiple combinations of the fingers of their dominant hand. The maximal finger forces and force rates, and the interdependence of the fingers (enslaving, individuation, sharing, and deficit) during both behaviors are reported in detail. Overall, similarities in finger behavior patterns obtained from maximal force and maximal force rates were observed. However, some differences are also noted, and novel findings (especially, comparison between force increase and decrease) are reported. Finally, future work that may lead to clinical applications is discussed.