People whose dexterity has been affected by nerve damage to the wrists could regain mobility thanks to Leicester University's medical faculty.
Special hand exercises which could help restore skilled movement will be part of a programme of research into how hands are re-educated after nerve damage.
Jon Scott of the department of pre-clinical sciences, who is to direct the project, said: "Previous studies of how patients with nerve damage at the wrist are rehabilitated have tended to focus on measuring recovery of strength but a patient could regain the ability to grip while still being unable to write or do up a button."
The project will look at a variety of exercises aimed at restoring movement to hands damaged both by injuries such as repetitive strain injury and by the process of ageing. Orthopaedic surgeons from Leicester Royal Infirmary are taking part in the investigations.
Nerve damage at the wrist is quite common whether caused by age or accident and has a profound effect on the ability to perform many basic tasks.