Describing hand prehension patterns in the context of functional hand evaluations may not provide the therapist or surgeon with an accurate portrayal of a patient’s capabilities. Although dexterity involves both static and dynamic components of hand usage, most descriptions of prehension patterns study the static phase alone. Hand use is a function of anatomic integrity, mobility, strength, sensation, coordination, age, sex, mental status, disease or trauma, and the condition of other proximal extremity joints (shoulder, elbow, wrist). In this study, various descriptions of hand prehension patterns were reviewed and 11 functional hand evaluations were analyzed. The purpose was to see if the descriptions and the evaluations have common elements. The conclusions are that there are no common elements, that no hand function evaluation is appropriate for all types of patients, and that such evaluations should consist of tasks representative of everyday functional activities.

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