Strain Gauge


Definition - What does Strain Gauge mean?

A strain gauge is a type of dynamometer used in physical therapy and rehabilitation settings as a standard metric for assessing the biomechanical functionality of distinct muscle group(s) when exerting force or power to demonstrate relative mobility. Also called force gauges, these handheld devices house a built-in spring designed to be compressed or pulled by the test subject measured in graduated units of kilograms (kg), newtons (N), and pounds (lb).

WorkplaceTesting explains Strain Gauge

Many industrial environments pose hazardous conditions that can lead to serious workplace accidents or injuries that, without preventative measures in place, can result in liabilities for employers. Manual Material Handling (MMH) techniques that require bending, carrying, lifting, pulling, and pushing are the various autonomous movements that are essential job functions necessary to execute regular duties and tasks. However, the duration, frequency, and repetition attributed to hard labor over time can cause musculoskeletal injuries. Physical therapists and other healthcare practitioners utilize strain gauge dynamometers to determine if the muscular strength of their patients meet the criteria where the physical demands within a particular line of work ultimately reflect job performance.

Following an injury, physical therapists and employers will coordinate, develop, and implement a strategy that caters to the physiological ability of the patient/worker to help them read optimal results. By visiting a worksite, physical therapists can gather concrete data that supports their analysis in launching the right therapeutic intervention based on environmental factors. Several benchmark testing protocols exist including Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), Injury Prevention Education (IPE), and Pre-Work Screening (PWS), all of which facilitate the process of hiring and reinstating applicants and employees with physical limitations.

A strain gauge can provide accurate measurements of muscle strength by calibrating the resistance level proportionate to a sustained force or power that mimics different motor functions on the job. Although MSI-related cases are likely to experience physical constraints that might otherwise impair their ability to maintain standards of efficiency and productivity, this perceived setback does not translate to their eligibility or proficiency in handling the job. In some circumstances, reasonable accommodations that conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) mandates are beneficial to individuals requiring assistive technology.

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