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The diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the thumb carpometacarpal joint is made predominantly by correlating examination findings with patients' symptoms and radiographs. The importance of clinical examination is enhanced due to the poor correlation between radiological severity of osteoarthritis of this joint and symptoms. Despite the importance of clinical examination findings, no previous studies have analyzed the traction-shift test nor compared clinical tests for this diagnosis. In this prospective case-control study the relative performance of the commonly used grind and traction-shift (subluxation-relocation) tests were compared in 30 patients and 30 unaffected controls. The traction-shift test had greater sensitivity (66.7%) and specificity (100%) than the grind test (30% and 96.7%, respectively), whilst also demonstrating superior positive (100%) and negative (75%) predictive value than the grind test (90% and 58%, respectively). Therefore, we believe this to be the superior clinical test for osteoarthritis of the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb.

Original publication




Journal article


J Hand Surg Eur Vol

Publication Date





282 - 285


Osteoarthritis, carpometacarpal joint, grind test, traction-shift, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Carpometacarpal Joints, Case-Control Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Osteoarthritis, Physical Examination, Prospective Studies, Sensitivity and Specificity, Thumb