What is normal pinch grip?

What is normal pinch strength?
What is normal pinch strength?

What is normal pinch grip is a common question we get as physical therapists.

Measurement of pinch strength is an important parameters to determine hand function.

Researchers often conduct studies and establish reference ranges to determine what might be considered “normal” for a specific population.

These ranges can help assess an individual’s pinch strength compared to their peers.

What is pinch strength?

Tip, Key, and Palmar pinch are the three types of pinch strengths. Workers frequently use a combination of these pinch grips with various force levels in the workplace.

Assessing pinch strength can be important in activities that require precision and fine motor control in the hand.

Key Pinch

  • A key pinch is also known as lateral pinch.
    • This type of pinch grip involves holding an object between the thumb and the side of the index finger.
    • This grip is similar to holding a key or a similar small object.
    • Key pinches are commonly used in various everyday tasks, such as picking up small items or turning keys in locks.

Tip Pinch

  • A tip pinch is also known as pulp pinch.
    • In this type of pinch grip, the individual holds an object between the tip of the thumb and the tip of one or more fingers.
    • This grip is characterized by using the pulp, or fleshy pad, of the thumb to apply pressure against the tip of another finger or fingers.
    • Tip pinches are often used when holding or manipulating small objects that require precise control.
    • For example, picking up a coin between the thumb and index finger would be an example of a tip pinch.

Palmar Pinch

  • A palmar pinch is also known as a three-jaw chuck pinch or pad-to-side pinch.
    • This type of grip involves holding an object using the thumb pad (the fleshy area at the base of the thumb) and the side of the index finger, with the other fingers providing support.
    • This grip resembles a three-jawed chuck, with the thumb and the side of the index finger acting as opposing jaws that secure the object in place.
    • Palmar pinches are often used when grasping objects that are larger than what can be held with a tip or key pinch but still require precision and control.
    • For example, holding a pen or pencil would typically involve a palmar pinch, as it allows for stability and fine motor coordination.
    • This grip can be particularly useful in activities that require writing, drawing, or manipulating tools where a secure yet precise hold on the object is necessary.

The following images are average values of several type of pinch strengths.

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Interpretation of the research

Pinch strength, which measures the force exerted by the hand and fingers, can vary widely among individuals.

Normal pinch strength depends on factors such as age, gender, and overall health. Research results can vary from study to study.

Overall, grip strength tends to decrease with age and may differ between males and females.

Here are some general values to take out of the research.

  1. Key Pinch (Lateral Pinch):
    • Normal range: 10-20 pounds of force.
  2. Tip Pinch (Pulp Pinch):
    • Normal range: 5-10 pounds of force.
  3. Three-Jaw Chuck Pinch (Pad-to-Side Pinch):
    • Normal range: 20-30 pounds of force.


Physical therapists can discuss health exercise programs for you but more specifically, we can help if you have a weak or painful grip. A systematic approach of proper testing to determine impairments, then manual therapy and muscular re-training is usually necessary to get better.

At PhysioFit of NC, we have the expert team in musculoskeletal conditions to help you to the fullest.

We provide a comprehensive treatment approach through our Grip Strength Program.  This includes manual therapy and exercises to improve finger and hand mobility and wrist stability. The primary goal of treatment is to address the underlying muscular imbalance issues and strength deficits causing impaired grip.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can help you!