Carpal bone kinematics and ligament lengthening studied for the full range of joint movement

H.H.C.M. Savelberg, J.D.M. Otten, J.G.M. Kooloos, H.W.J. Huiskes, J.M.G. Kauer

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Present data on carpal kinematics and carpal ligament behaviour are limited to flexion and deviation movements of the hand. These motions do not represent all the wrist-joint motions which are important for the activities of daily living. The goal of this project was to obtain insight into carpal kinematics and carpal ligament behaviour during motions of the hand covering the full range of motion of the wrist joint. The carpals and the ligaments of 4 wrist-joint specimens were provided with radiopaque markers. These joints were subjected to Rontgenstereophotogrammetric experimentation in a large number of hand positions to determine carpal positions and ligament lengths. The movements or the carpal bones were described by means of finite helical axes. It was found that the movements of the carpals in the distal row closely resemble those of the hand. Conversely, the motions of the carpals of the proximal row appeared not to be directly proportional to the hand motions and exhibited clear out-of-plane movements. Furthermore, it could be shown that movements of the hand into the ulnodorsal quadrant of the full range of hand motion corresponds to larger helical rotations and translations for most of the carpals than when the hand was moved into any other quadrant. The maximal ligament length changes determined did not exceed the length changes reported for pure flexion and pure deviation movements of the hand
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1389-1402
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1993


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