Embedding Higher Standards in Arthritis Diagnosis

Medical glove device embedded with FlexiForce sensors helps confirm applied forces in rheumatology joint assessment exams.

Background

Many rheumatologists perform joint assessments by manually exerting pressure on an area with their thumb or two index fingers to elicit a response. It is generally assumed that fingers will "blanch" at around 4 kg/cm2 of force, which is then used as a benchmark for the physician to evaluate joint tenderness. Since different physicians will typically squeeze with different forces, it is impossible to establish any medical baseline standards for this process.

Challenge

To standardize the practice of joint assessments with an arthritis diagnostic tool that can verify and record the exact force a rheumatologist is exerting on an arthritis patient. With this tool, rheumatologists can more accurately determine the severity of the patient’s condition and recommend optimal treatment.

Solution

A medical device company partnered with Tekscan to develop a diagnostic system that could determine the amount of force being applied during joint assessments. The product design incorporated a sleeve comprised of flexible material that included an opening for a thumb. A FlexiForce™ sensor was embedded onto the thumb portion of the sleeve to measure the force or pressure exerted by the physician on the patient’s body in real time.

As the physician presses down on the patient, electronics from within the sleeve capture the force data into an analog signal, which is then translated into a digital signal by a software program. An indicator – either a visible LED light or an audible buzzer sound – will alert the physician when a target force is reached. The software can then produce a report based on the results to recommend next steps for treatment. The product also allows the physician to be in close contact with the patient at all times while the procedure takes place, without the inconvenience of wires and other elements.

Benefits of Force Sensors

  • Ultra-thin sensor construction and flexibility means minimal interference/disturbance to normal action
  • Accurate response gives your customers and end users confidence in the performance of your product
  • Knowledgeable, experienced technical staff help you develop the most effective, economical sensor based on your specific requirements. All manufacturing takes place at ISO 9001 & 13485 certified Tekscan headquarters.
  • 100% factory inspection ensures your sensors meet established performance specifications

Getting Started with FlexiForce™ Sensors

FlexiForce sensors are available off-the-shelf in packs of four or eight for testing and prototyping. Visit our online store to place an order, or contact us to discuss customization options with one of our engineers.