Force control deficits in chronic stroke: Grip formation and release phases

Sagar K. Naik, Carolynn Patten, Neha Lodha, Stephen A. Coombes, James H. Cauraugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The aim of the study was to develop a novel approach for quantifying stair-stepping in a trajectory tracking task with the goal of understanding how age and stroke-related differences in motor control contribute to force control deficits. Nine stroke participants, nine age-matched controls, and nine young healthy adults performed an isometric gripping task while squeezing, holding, and releasing a cylindrical device. The visual tracking task involved three different rates of force production (5, 10, and 20% maximal force/s). Four outcome measures determined force control deficits: (a) root mean square error, (b) standard deviation, (c) step number, and (d) mean pause duration. Our findings indicate that step number, and especially mean pause duration, differentiated force control deficits in the three groups more effectively than the traditional root mean square error. Moreover, stroke participants showed the largest force control deficits during the grip release phase compared to age-matched and young healthy controls. Importantly, step number and mean pause duration quantified stair-stepping while measuring different constructs than root mean square error. Distinct step and duration interruptions in force modulation by persons post-stroke during the grip release phase provide new information with implications for motor recovery during rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Force control
  • Force variability
  • Grip
  • Hand
  • Stroke
  • Upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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