Carpal Pronation and Supination Changes in the Unstable Wrist

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Abstract

Background

Little is known about changes in scaphoid and lunate supination and pronation following scapholunate interosseous ligament (SLIL) injury. Information on these changes may help explain why some SLIL reconstructions have failed and help in the development of new techniques.

Purpose

To determine if following simulated SLIL injury there was an increase in scaphoid pronation and lunate supination and to determine if concurrently there was an increase in the extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) force.

Materials and Methods

Scaphoid and lunate motion were measured before and after sectioning of the SLIL and two volar ligaments in 22 cadaver wrists, and before and after sectioning of the SLIL and two dorsal ligaments in 15 additional wrists. Each wrist was dynamically moved through wrist flexion/extension, radioulnar deviation, and a dart-throwing motion. Changes in the ECU force were recorded during each wrist motion.

Results

Scaphoid pronation and lunate supination significantly increased following ligamentous sectioning during each motion. There were significant differences in the amount of change in lunate motion, but not in scaphoid motion, between the two groups of sectioned ligaments. Greater percentage ECU force was required following ligamentous sectioning to achieve the same wrist motions.

Conclusion

Carpal supination/pronation changed with simulated damage to the scapholunate stabilizers. This may be associated with the required increases in the ECU force.

Clinical Relevance

In reconstructing the SLIL, one should be aware of the possible need to correct scaphoid pronation and lunate supination that occur following injury. This may be more of a concern when the dorsal stabilizers are injured.

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