The Effect of Pressure Glove Tightness on Forearm Muscle Activity and Psychophysical Responses

Annie Yu, Kit Lun Yick, Sun Pui Ng, Yiu Wan Yip

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The impact of pressure glove tightness on maximum grip force, muscle activity, and psychophysical responses is investigated to facilitate the prescription of a suitable reduction factor (RF) for pressure treatment. Background: The wearing of pressure therapy gloves is often considered to hinder hand performance and cause discomfort, resulting in unsatisfactory treatment adherence during burn rehabilitation. Method: A wear trial was carried out with 10 participants for three custom-made pressure gloves that consist of different RFs - 10%, 15% and 20% - as well as for the bare hand. The surface electromyography of three forearm muscles was measured during tasks that involve moving marbles, buttoning a shirt, and typing. The psychophysical responses were also recorded. Results: The use of pressure gloves results in a reduction in the maximum gripping force. Gloves with tighter pressure contribute to lower perceived comfort and ease of hand motion. Increased glove tightness (with RFs of 15% and 20%) decreases muscle activity as compared to the bare-hand condition when buttoning a shirt. In terms of typing, the forearm muscle activity increases with high glove pressure (RF of 20%). Conclusion: The forearm muscles are significantly affected by glove tightness in performing different daily tasks that required gripping, pinching, and typing. The increase of RF of pressure gloves causes negative impact on psychophysical response and handgrip strength. Glove tightness in relation to hand performance and comfort is important in prescribing an optimal pressure therapy glove for hypertrophic scar treatment. Application: The findings give insight into the impacts of pressure glove tightness on muscle activity, thus providing a reference for glove development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-1001
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • EMG
  • forearm muscles
  • grip force
  • tightness
  • wear trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)


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