Wartenberg’s Sign is a wrist examination procedure that assesses the integrity of the grip of the hand and aids in the diagnosis of ulnar neuropathy. Weakness of the ulnar innervated intrinsic muscles as well as the unopposed action of the medially attached extensor digiti minimi makes it hard to adduct the area.
The patient must be awake and cooperative as the Wartenberg’s Sign is observed.
- Patient should be seated during the procedure.
- The examiner uses a diagnostic tool to measure grip strength test. The patient grips the device.
- The examiner takes note of the patient’s grip especially the 5th digit.
- After the test, the patient relaxes her hand before continuing with other tests.
Positive Wartenberg’s Sign
There is positive Wartenberg’s Sign when the 5th digit does not move or engage during the grip or when the 5th digit remains abducted. A positive sign may indicate ulnar neuropathy.
A normal, strong grip is described as a grip where all the digits engage to produce the action.