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Accuracy and feasibility of using an electrogoniometer for measuring simple thumb movements

Journal article
Authors Per Jonsson
P. W. Johnson
Mats Hagberg
Published in Ergonomics
Volume 50
Issue 5
Pages 647-59
ISSN 0014-0139 (Print)
Publication year 2007
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 647-59
Language en
Keywords Adult, *Arthrometry, Articular, Biomechanics, Cumulative Trauma Disorders/*etiology, Feasibility Studies, Female, Hand/*physiology, Human Engineering/*instrumentation, Humans, Male, Movement/*physiology, Posture/*physiology, Thumb/*physiology, *Upper Extremity
Subject categories Medical technology, Public health medicine research areas, Occupational physiology, Occupational medicine


The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy and feasibility of using an electrogoniometer (Model SG 110; Biometrics, Gwent, UK) for measuring simple thumb movements. Thumb disorders have been associated with the use of hand held devices such as mobile phones and these devices have become an integral part of modern life. In 15 young subjects, the measurements of eight flexion/extension (Flex/Ext) and adduction/abduction (Ad/Ab) thumb positions were compared between a thumb-mounted electrogoniometer and manual goniometer (which was taken as the benchmark). Group mean electrogoniometric measurement errors were below 4 degrees and 5 degrees for Ad/Ab and Flex/Ext measurements, respectively. During mobile phone use, the electrogoniometers measured differences in maximal joint angle postures, which appeared to be related to differences in mobile phone size. High movement velocities may increase the risk of musculoskeletal injury and the results indicated that Ad/Ab movements were twice the speed of Flex/Ext movements during mobile phone use. Electrogoniometers have utility for studying thumb movements during mobile phone use and may be used to evaluate other thumb-based input devices.

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