Tactile feedback plays a critical role in maximum finger force production
Review articleOpen access

AbstractThis study investigates the role of cutaneous feedback on maximum voluntary force (MVF), finger force deficit (FD) and finger independence (FI). FD was calculated as the difference between the sum of maximal individual finger forces during single-finger pressing tasks and the maximal force produced by those fingers during an all-finger pressing task. FI was calculated as the average non-task finger forces normalized by the task-finger forces and subtracted from 100 percent. Twenty young healthy right-handed males participated in the study. Cutaneous feedback was removed by administering ring block digital anesthesia on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th digits of the right hands. Subjects were asked to press force sensors with maximal effort using individual digits as well as all four digits together, with and without cutaneous feedback. Results from the study showed a 25% decrease in MVF for the individual fingers as well as all the four fingers pressing together after the removal of cutaneous feedback. Additionally, more than 100% increase in FD after the removal of cutaneous feedback was observed in the middle and ring fingers. No changes in FI values were observed between the two conditions. Results of this study suggest that the central nervous system utilizes cutaneous feedback and the feedback mechanism plays a critical role in maximal voluntary force production by the hand digits.

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