Norms for grip strength of children aged 4 to 16 years were determined in a study of 530 Swedish children at the Department of Rehabilitation, Umea University, Sweden. Peak grip strength over a 10 sec period and sustained grip strength averaged across the 10 secs were measured using an instrument Grippit dynamometer, with adjustable handles and digital display. A standardized position for the child was followed as recommended by the American Society of Hand Therapists. Up to 10 years of age, boys and girls showed increases in strength with age that were parallel; after 10 years, boys were significantly stronger than girls (55% higher at 16 years). Grip strength was strongly correlated with weight, height, and especially, hand length. Right-handed children were significantly stronger (up to 10%) in the dominant hand, while left-handers showed no difference between hands. Sustained grip strength was 80-85% of peak grip strength; it was lower in younger children. These norms for peak grip strength were slightly lower than the USA and Australia 1980s data, probably related to differences in instruments used and age groupings of children in the studies. [1]

COMMENT. The tables and data of grip strength provided in this article permit comparisons of a patient’s score with those of normally developed children according to age, gender, handedness and body weight, height and hand length. Right-handed children may be expected to be 10% stronger with the right hand while left-handers are equally strong in right or left. Boys are stronger than girls, but only over 10 years of age. Grip strength is directly correlated with hand length and body weight.