Nine-Hole Peg Test

If you are treating a patient with neurological disorders, use the Nine-Hole Peg Test to assess their motor functions, specifically their hands!

Emma Hainsworth
Emma Hainsworth
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What is the Nine-Hole Peg Test?

The Nine-Hole Peg Test is a simple physical exercise created to assess the finger dexterity of patients with neurological disorders such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease, among others.

This test is quite simple and only requires a few things:

  • A small pegboard with nine holes
  • Nine pegs
  • A stopwatch

For the test, the patient simply needs to place all the pegs inside the holes as quickly as possible, but only using one of their hands. After placing the pegs, they will proceed to remove them as quickly as possible using the same hand.

This test aims to identify impairments in a patient when it comes to their hands. Are they able to grip small objects like pegs with ease using their fingers? The test will monitor this and determine if their impairment will affect certain activities of daily living involving their hands.

Printable Nine-Hole Peg Test

Download this Nine-Hole Peg Test and assess the hand motor function of clients with neurological impairments.

How to use the Nine-Hole Peg Test

Ready the equipment.

Before administering the test, make sure to have the necessary items mentioned earlier. Once you have them, place them on a table or desk and have them sit in front of it. Then, make sure you have your stopwatch in hand.

Inform the patient about what they are going to do.

Once the equipment is ready, demonstrate the test to your patient while instructing them with the following:

  • Using your dominant hand, pick up the pegs one at a time from their container and place them in the holes in any order until you fill all of them
  • Then, take one out one by one and put them back in the container as fast as you can
  • I will say GO to tell you to start. The timer will start as soon as you touch the first peg
  • The time will stop as soon as you place the last peg back into the container

Easy, right?

Have them do a practice round.

Once you’ve demonstrated the test, have them do a practice round so they can get the hang of things.

Have them do the test.

Once the practice round is done, give them a break for 30 seconds or a minute, then have them complete the actual test.

Remember that they have to use their dominant hand. Once they complete the test with their dominant hand, have them do another one, but this time, they will have to use their non-dominant hand.

Don’t forget to jot down their times for both hands.

Interpret the scores and use this to help make your care plan.

If the patient can accomplish the test quickly, that means that they have better finger dexterity and that their hand functions are generally okay. If they take longer, then it is indicative that their hand functions and finger dexterity have been impaired.

For reference, according to Mathiowetz and his research team, healthy adult men can accomplish this test in 19 seconds on average with their right hand, and 20.6 seconds with their left hand. As for healthy adult women, it takes them 17.9 seconds on average with their right hand and 19.6 seconds with their left.

The test results will help you determine what goes into your care plan for them. Of course, make sure that you use the results here alongside results for other physical examinations to better inform your plan.

Nine-Hole Peg Test Example

Now that you know how easy it is to administer the Nine-Hole Peg Test, you’d be happy to know that the test sheet is also easy to use. Here is a filled-out Nine-Hole Peg Test sample:

If you would like to use this for your practice, we have a free and printable Nine-Hole Peg Test PDF that you can download! The PDF also has editable fields, so if you want to go paperless, you can simply jot down the times on the PDF.

Download this Nine-Hole Peg Test Example (Sample) here:

Nine-Hole Peg Test Example (Sample)

When does one normally use the Nine-Hole Peg Test?

This test was designed to assess people afflicted with neurological disorders that have impacted their motor functions. As such, it’s best to administer it when evaluating the patient for multiple things related to their physical ability to determine the care plan.

It’s also a test administered multiple times (hence the multiple entries on the sheet) since it’s prudent to consider the possibility that the patient’s hand function and finger dexterity could improve or deteriorate over time.

Who can use this printable Nine-Hole Peg Test and for whom is this for?

Given that the Nine-Hole Peg Test was designed to be taken by patients with neurological disorders and impacted motor functions, this test is primarily used in rehabilitation settings and programs. This means that physical therapists, occupational therapists, and rehabilitation specialists can use this. So long as they are qualified to treat the type of patient mentioned above, they will definitely benefit from utilizing the Nine-Hole Peg Test.

Physical Therapy Software Feedback

Why use Carepatron for physical therapy software?

Carepatron houses various physical therapy worksheets, assessments, and more! If you are a physical therapist or an adjacent healthcare practitioner, you will benefit greatly from our roster of documents, including this Nine-Hole Peg Test! Combine that with our other physical therapy documents, and you will be able to create a care plan that covers more than enough bases to hopefully help your patient’s condition(s) improve!

Aside from gaining access to documents, you will also gain access to a highly-secure storage system where you can create and store backups of your clinical documents in a HIPAA-compliant manner! If you have Nine-Hole Peg Tests with recorded times, you can store them via our platform.

Storing them with us means you can set up who can access them besides you and have the power to access them anytime, anywhere, on any capable device so long as you have internet access.

Convenience. Accessibility. Security. You get all three with Carepatron.

Physical Therapy Software
Can I use this test to diagnose patients?
Can I use this test to diagnose patients?

Commonly asked questions

Can I use this test to diagnose patients?

No, this is not a diagnostic tool. Rather, it is used to assess the severity of impairment regarding hand function and finger dexterity. This means that the patients are, more often than not, already diagnosed with neurological disorders or have physical disabilities that impact their hand function and finger dexterity.

Is this test enough to develop a care plan?

Unless the patient only has problems with their hand function and finger dexterity, then yes. If they have more issues resulting from their neurological disorders and physical ailments, then it would be best to administer other tests because this one is for their hand function and finger dexterity.

Is this test safe? It is a physical-related exam, after all.

Yes, it is safe. Unlike other physical tests, this one does not have them do actions like standing up and sitting down, walking, or reaching. They simply need to be seated and put holes into pegs during the test. If you want to be on the safe side, make sure that the chair they are sitting on is sturdy.

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