0steoarthritis of the hand has been suggested to be the result of "wear" and "tear." If so, osteoarthritis should develop more frequently in the dominant hand.

We compared dominant with nondominant hands of 134 consecutive community subjects aged 53 to 75 years by questionnaire, roentgenograms of hands, and rheumatologic evaluation. Mean age was 60 years, 93% were right handed, and 95% were in occupations classified as nonphysical.

Subjects estimated dominant hand use of 2 to 10 times the amount of the nondominant hand. Osteoarthritis was found in 133 of 134 subjects. No radiological or clinical differences were found between the dominant and nondominant hands.

Twenty-six subjects who self-reported heavier lifetime hand use had somewhat greater clinical and hand roentgenographic osteoarthritis scores than the 36 subjects reporting lighter hand use (43.5 vs 34.5) (P .01). In our study population, osteoarthritis was not more prevalent in the dominant hand.

(1989;16:637-642) Nancy E. Lane et al., Stanford University Medical Center, HRP Bldg., Room 109C, Stanford, CA 94305. Journal of the American Medical Assn. 12/8/ 89. Page 3140.

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