#ThinkHand: more good news we also have a stand at MS Life

Are you coming to MSLife? If yes drop by our #ThinkHand stand to support the campaign.

“We will be presenting the results of the Arm & Hand Function survey at the MS Life as well as a parallel survey on UK MSologists attitudes to the same issues. Will there be a disconnect?”

“We are continuing to collect hand functions that are important to you as a person with MS. What hand and arm functions mean the most to you?  Can you helps us redefine the ABILHAND PROM?”

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.


  • Here's my comprehensive(?) list of hand functions (more comprehensive than my last list, anyway). It's in two parts because it was too long to publish in one. The hand functions on the abilhand list have numbers on the list below. The functions without numbers were suggested by other people posting on here or came from my own experience. I have categorised the hand functions to make it easier for other people to check whether their own ideas of important hand functions are on this list. I'm going to stop messing about with this list now.

    Personal Care of hair and face:
    12 Washing one’s face
    22 Combing one’s hair
    35 Brushing one’s hair
    Pouring shampoo into one’s hand
    Shampooing one’s hair
    54 Squeezing toothpaste from a tube onto a toothbrush
    56 Brushing one’s teeth
    Using an electric tootbrush
    Flossing one’s teeth
    Putting on lipstick
    45 Blowing one’s nose
    Inserting a contact lens
    Applying make-up
    Using a manual razor
    Using an electric razor

    Personal care of body:
    30 Washing one’s hands
    9 Filing one’s nails
    18 Cutting ones nails
    Scratching an itch
    Holding and using a wet bar of soap on one’s body
    Using a roll-on deodorant
    Using a spray (deodorant or perfume)
    Inserting a tampon
    Wiping one’s bottom

    Dressing, dealing with clothes and shoes:
    Pulling up underpants
    Putting on a pair of tights
    Fastening a bra
    15 Buttoning up trousers
    2 Pulling up the zipper of trousers
    40 Buttoning up a shirt
    47 Fastening the zipper of a jacket
    48 Fastening a snap (jacket, bag …)
    Putting on socks
    Putting on shoes
    Tying shoelaces
    Tying a ribbon
    Finding the sleeves of a jacket and putting hands into them
    Putting gloves on
    32 Winding up a wristwatch
    55 Taking a coin out of a pocket
    Feeling the difference between things in a pocket

    Round the house:
    11 Closing a door
    Opening a door using a door handle
    Opening a door using a door knob
    Opening a bolt
    21 Turning on a lamp
    14 Turning off a tap
    19 Turning on a radio
    16 Dialling on a keypad phone
    33 Turning a key in a keyhole
    34 Turning on a television set
    37 Ringing a doorbell
    26 Inserting a disc into a disc drive
    25 Replacing a lightbulb
    10 Grasping a coin on a table
    Counting out change
    Stroking a pet
    Swatting away an insect
    Using TV remote control
    Cleaning kitchen surfaces
    Cleaning the loo

    Eating and drinking:
    42 Cutting meat
    Cutting up an omelette
    43 Eating a sandwich
    38 Placing a glass of water on a table
    39 Drinking a glass of water
    28 Spreading butter on a slice of bread
    23 Unwrapping a chocolate bar
    5 Using a spoon
    Using a fork
    Holding a full glass of liquid
    Pouring cereal into a bowl
    Pouring milk into a bowl
    Eating cereal out of a normal size bowl without spillage

    Preparing food:
    7 Picking up a can
    17 Opening up a screw-topped jar
    27 Making a pancake batter
    3 Peeling an onion
    8 Taking the cap off a bottle
    13 Peeling potatoes with a knife
    20 Tearing open a packet of chips (crisps?)
    50 Shelling hazelnuts
    Putting a pan of water on a cooker
    Pulling plastic top off milk container
    Pulling foil off margarine tub
    Pouring boiling water out of a kettle
    Using a tin opener
    Slice a loaf of bread
    Stirring something for 20 minutes
    Opening a ring pull can

    Writing, Reading and Drawing:
    52 Opening an envelope
    49 Writing a sentence
    36 Drawing
    31 Using a stapler
    1 Turning the pages of a book
    4 Sharpening a pencil
    46 Wrapping up a gift
    44 Handling a 4 colour ballpoint pen with one hand
    29 Counting bank notes
    Signing one’s name
    Putting a letter in an envelope
    Peeling a stamp or sticker off backing paper
    Sticking a stamp on an envelope
    Putting a letter in a postbox

  • Computer, tablet and smartphone:
    53 Using a keyboard to type
    Using a computer mouse
    Putting in the code to unlock a smartphone or tablet
    Googling something
    Ordering groceries on a computer
    Writing an email
    Sending a text
    Taking photo using phone or camera
    Swiping to answer a smartphone

    Leisure activities:
    Throwing a ball from hand to hand
    Moving chess pieces
    Moving draughts pieces
    Playing snooker
    Playing video games
    Doing jigsaw puzzle

    Using Tools:
    6 Using a screwdriver
    24 Hammering a nail
    51 Screwing a nut on
    41 Threading a needle
    Taking valve cap off a bicycle wheel
    Using a bicycle pump
    Doing up a safety pin

    Hand Functions Connected with MS or medication in general:
    Inserting a urinary catheter
    Using a urinary dipstick
    Joining FES electrodes to leads
    Putting FES electrodes on skin
    Using FES controls
    Changing the battery in an FES
    Popping pills out of plastic strips
    Undoing bottles with childproof locks
    Injecting oneself
    Inserting glycerin suppository
    Opening the wrapper on a sticking plaster

    Wheeling a manual wheelchair
    Folding down footrests on a wheelchair
    Lifting feet onto footrests of a wheelchair
    Doing self transfer from a wheelchair to chair or toilet
    Using the controls on an electric wheelchair

    Driving a Car:
    Changing gear
    Using handbrake

By Prof G



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