Hand as hammer: A comprehensive review of biomechanical studies related to occupational hand strikes

Lukas Hausmanninger, Igor Komnik, Wolfgang Potthast

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftÜbersichtsarbeitenForschung


A growing number of workers in modern automotive assembly plants are confronted with occupational tasks involving repeated high‐impact hand strikes. Such repetitive physical workloads account for diseases of soft tissues or musculoskeletal disorders in the hand, wrist, or entire upper body. The purpose of this review was to identify and discuss the most pertinent occupational and physiological investigations concerning such hand strikes with particular emphasis on the biomechanical parameters examined. Articles were drawn from four databases to identify publications about occupational hand strikes. First, studies were selected that evaluated hand impact loads measured with the help of force measurement devices. For a deeper understanding of biomechanical factors regarding hand impacts, the scope of the search was extended to include ancillary studies about impacts on wrists or elbows. Overall, 945 abstracts were screened, and five full‐text articles were included in the final review. In addition, 34 ancillary articles about impact stress on the hand–arm complex were discussed because of positive relations between high forces, repetition rates or acceleration, and progressing stress in the hand–arm complex identified in studies about critical biomechanical load limits, in the field of fall arrests and sports, i.e. tennis. Furthermore, studies about effective arm movements and body postures during hand strikes as used in martial arts were reviewed. Although certain biomechanical parameters are both known and well documented, studies available at present cannot sufficiently account for specific disorders in the wrist or arm that are triggered by occupational hand strikes.
ZeitschriftHuman Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries
Seiten (von - bis)361-371
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.06.2019