Force and pressure transmission through the normal wrist. A theoretical two-dimensional study in the posteroanterior plane

F. Schuind, W. P. Cooney, R. L. Linscheid, K. N. An, E. Y.S. Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Force transmission through the wrist in the normal population was investigated using the rigid body spring modeling (RBSM) technique (assuming carpal bones are rigid bodies interposed by series of springs simulating articulating cartilage and constraining ligaments). One-hundred and twenty normal wrist posteroanterior X-rays of adults (evenly divided to represent both genders and two age groups) provided the anatomical data. Reaction forces between the carpal bones were modeled using a system of compression linear springs, representing cartilage and subchondral bone, and of tensile linear springs, representing ligaments. The spring constants were determined based on the material properties of wrist cartilage and ligaments. Assumed axial loads were applied along the metacarpals to simulate a grasp strength of 10 N with active stabilization of the wrist in neutral position. The force transmission ratio at the radio-ulno-carpal joint was 55% through the radio-scaphoid and 35% through the radio-lunate joints. The remaining 10% of the load was passing through the triangular fibrocartilage with minor differences between genders. Among the intercarpal joints, a large percentage of the load of the wrist was transmitted to the scaphoid. The peak pressure was highest at the proximal pole of the radio-scaphoid, with a radio-scaphoid versus radio-lunate peak pressure ratio of 1.6. The most important ligaments in terms of load transmission were those opposing ulnar translation of the carpus. The wrist morphology had little influence on the magnitude and pattern of load distribution. There was no effect of age on wrist force distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-589,591-601
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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