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What is Distal Radioulnar Joint Instability?

Your wrist is comprised of the radius, ulna, and carpal bones. Distal Radioulnar Joint Instability occurs when articular contact between the two forearm bones at the wrist follows an abnormal path in rotation.

Though this is an exceptionally stable and mobile joint, it is prone to injury when someone falls on an outstretched hand (FOOSH) with the wrist pronated. Injuries to this joint are also common in patients who have been in a car accident, who play contact sports, or who play tennis, racquetball, and baseball.

Sometimes occurring in gymnasts, causes include damage to the ligamentous structures that comprise the joint or irregular alignment of the joint surfaces due to fracture or severe wrist sprain. The result of either sudden trauma or recurrent strain, Distal Radioulnar Joint Instability manifests itself in painful and limited ability to rotate the forearm and wrist.

Signs and Symptoms of Distal Radioulnar Joint Instability

Distal radioulnar joint instability may present symptoms similar to other orthopedic conditions. However, patients may notice the following prior to their appointment:

  • Decreased range of motion
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Deformity of the wrist

Getting a Diagnosis for Distal Radioulnar Joint Instability

When a patient is presenting with pain in their wrist, or after an accident occurs, may be at risk of distal radioulnar joint instability. The specialists at Handsport Surgery Institute will evaluate you to come to a diagnosis and create a treatment plan to help you maximize mobility and dexterity.

Getting a diagnosis for distal radioulnar joint instability is something that you’ll need a specialized team for. In order to come to this diagnosis, patients may undergo the following after their exam:

X-rays

When someone is presenting with pain or instability in their wrist, Drs. Mark or Jason Pruzansky may determine that an x-ray will aid in making a diagnosis. X-rays can also help the doctors find out if a fracture or dislocation is contributing to the condition of the patient.

MRI Scan

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an xrayless scan to create images of bodily structures in several planes.

This is often used to confirm or diagnose distal radioulnar joint instability when there is suspected triangular fibrocartilage or ligament tears.

Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a cutting-edge surgical technique during which specialized, orthopedic hand surgeons use a scope and small tools to view the area. Since the surgeon is able to visualize the area without opening the wrist more than a few millimeters, it is optimal for diagnosing and correcting many problems, including distal radioulnar joint instability.

Treatment Options for Distal Radioulnar Joint Instability

As with most orthopedic injuries and conditions, the treatments available range from rehab and medication to surgery. Simple instabilities of the distal radioulnar joint can be treated with rest, medication, splinting and physical therapy, whereas more severe cases may require arthroscopically assisted reconstructive surgery.

If You Believe You Have Distal Radioulnar Joint Instability, Contact HandSport Surgery Institute

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. Distal radioulnar joint instability is best treated as early as possible to help the patient regain as much functionality as possible.Call Dr. Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment, obtain an accurate diagnosis, and start to restore comfort to your hand, foot, or affected limb.

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