Designing for Arthritis and Activities of Daily Living: a Taxonomic Review of Hand Grasp Techniques in a Domestic Context

karen Yevenes, Eddi Pianca, Livio Bonollo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The essential daily actions performed by humans in undertaking everyday chores are often referred to as activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs frequently involve interactions with equipment, tools, products, and appliances to facilitate independence in one’s senior years. Industrial Designers generate this equipment and, hence, it is desirable for designers to understand the range of hand grasp postures employed by older persons, particularly when afflicted with declining dexterity. The objective of this review is to synthesize the significant knowledge available in the literature concerning human hand grasp taxonomies, and to identify how existing studies can aid and inform future research into hand grasps, particularly of older persons with arthritis of the hands. The review includes a search of hand grasp taxonomies by using search engines including Google Scholar, Academia, and ResearchGate, and searches of journals available at two university libraries. Titles reviewed include those related to the fields of industrial design, ergonomics, biomechanics, gerontology, rehabilitation, rheumatology, and osteoarthritis. Robotic hands, artificial and prosthetic limbs, and haptic technology are also included as studies in these fields investigate the normal function of the human hand as the benchmark for manufacturing and assistive device design. This review identifies there is a knowledge gap regarding the relationship between hand grasp taxonomies, product design and ADLs. The result of this exploratory literature review is presented in a tabular format to inform new product development and will support future research concerning the methods and instruments used to gather data on hand grasps for usability of domestic tools.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalThe International Journal of Designed Objects
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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