Distal Radioulnar Joint Subluxation

Distal Radioulnar Subluxation

The distal radio-ulna joint is the joint at the wrist, between the two forearm bones the radius and the ulna. This injury is usually a subluxation or partial dislocation although fractures of either bone can be involved.

Symptoms of distal radioulnar joint subluxations

Symptoms include pain in the wrist after a specific impact or trauma. There will be increased pain when turning the hand over as the radius and ulna bones rotate. The wrist will usually appear deformed and the ulna is more prominent. The wrist may appear narrower than the other one. There is likely to be swelling and tenderness when pressing in on the wrist.

Causes

The most common cause of a radioulnar joint dislocation is a fall onto an outstretched hand. It may also occur following a force to the hand or wrist which either oversupinates (turns the palm of the hand up) or overpronates (turns the palm down).

Isolated dislocations are most likely to occur from hyperpronation or hypersupination injuries. A fall on to the outstretched hand is more likely to occur in conjunction with fractures to either or both of the bones.

Treatment

If a wrist dislocation is suspected, seek medical attention immediately. An X-ray will be used to confirm the diagnosis and to check for any fractures. Simple dislocations are usually quite straightforward to reduce (put back into place). The wrist and forearm should then be immobilised for 6 weeks to allow all soft tissues to heal.

A rehabilitation program will then be required to regain full wrist movement and strength. For more complex dislocations, surgery may be necessary to reduce the bones and pin any fractures, holding the bones in place whilst they heal. Again the joint is immobilized, before a rehabilitation program is commenced.

Related Articles

Dislocated Wrist

A dislocated wrist is a dislocation of any of the eight small bones called carpal bones which make up the wrist. A wrist dislocation will occur as a result of a traumatic event or fall onto the wrist.

Metacarpal Fracture

The metacarpal bones are the five long bones in the hand. Any of these bones can be broken or fractured but the 1st metacarpal under the base of the thumb is the most commonly injured.

Bartons Fracture

Bartons Fracture is a fracture of the distal radius bone at the base of the thumb. This fracture is sometimes also called a fracture dislocation.

Dupuytren's Contracture

Dupuytren's contracture is a condition which affects the hand and fingers, causing the fingers to bend in towards the palm of the hand.