SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge

November 2014

The Effect of Compression Gloves in Hand Osteoarthritis: A Pre-Post-Test Trial.

Hammond, A & Prior, Y & Jones, V & Dooley, M & Hough, Y 2014, 'The Effect of Compression Gloves in Hand Osteoarthritis: A Pre-Post-Test Trial.', Arthritis and Rheumatism, 66:11.


Background: Compression gloves are used in Hand Osteoarthritis (HOA) to reduce pain (day and/or night), stiffness and improve hand function. A systematic review identified only two trials (sample sizes n= 2 and 5), with inconclusive results [1]. The commonest compression gloves provided in the UK are Isotoner gloves. The aim was to evaluate effects of compression gloves on hand pain, stiffness and function. Methods: A pre-post-test study was conducted. Participants were recruited from 10 Rheumatology Occupational Therapy (OT) departments; had a doctor diagnosis of HOA and no steroid injections or new/changed medication within the previous 4 weeks. Assessments at 0 and 4 weeks included: hand pain on activity and at night, hand stiffness (all 0-10 numeric rating scales: none to very severe); Measure of Activity Performance of the Hand [MAP-HAND, 2]; Grip Ability Test [GAT, 3]; and composite finger flexion to distal wrist crease (CFF). OT assessors were trained in standardised hand assessment procedures. Assessor inter-rater reliability (ICC,10) was good : CFF (0.76-0.93); GAT (0.98) [4]. All participants received Isotoner ¾ finger gloves. Data were analysed using paired t-tests and effect sizes calculated using eta-squared (values of 0.14+ = large effect, 5). Results: 30 people with HOA participated: 28 women, 2 men); average age = 61.23(SD 8.35) years; time since diagnosis 4.71(SD 6.47) years. Conclusion: This study demonstrates, for the first time, that compression gloves used by people with HOA led to significant improvements in: pain during the day and night, stiffness, hand function and finger motion, with moderate to large effect sizes. A limitation was the lack of a control group meaning we cannot be certain benefits were due to compression gloves. A randomised controlled trial needs to be conducted, including longer follow-up.


SEEK Members

External Authors

Yvonne Hough

Mary Dooley

Publication Details

Arthritis and Rheumatism, 66:11.