Normal kinematics of carpal bones: A three-dimensional analysis of carpal bone motion relative to the radius

Masayuki Kobayashi, Richard A. Berger, Ladislav Nagy, Ronald L. Linscheid, Shigeharu Uchiyama, Macro Ritt, Kai Nan An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Normal carpal kinematics were studied in 22 cadaver specimens using a biplanar radiography method. The kinematics of the trapezium, capitate, hamate, scaphoid, lunate, and triquetrum were determined during wrist motion in sagittal and coronal planes. The results were expressed using the concept of the screw displacement axis and converted to describe the magnitude of rotation about and translation along three axes (X-axis: pronation-supination axis, Y-axis: flexion-extension axis, and Z-axis: radial-ulnar deviation axis) commonly used for the wrist. The orientation of these axes is expressed relative to the radius. Within the proximal carpal row, considerable differences of carpal behavior around the Y-axis were observed during sagittal plane motion of the wrist. The scaphoid exhibited the greatest magnitude of rotation, and the lunate the least. The magnitude of rotation of the carpal bones around the X-axis during sagittal plane motion of the wrist was small. The proximal carpal bones exhibited some ulnar deviation in 60°of wrist flexion. During coronal plane motion of the wrist, the magnitude of radial-ulnar deviation of the distal carpal bones was mutually similar and generally of a greater magnitude than that of the proximal carpal bones. The proximal carpal bones experienced some flexion during radial deviation of the wrist and extension during ulnar deviation of the wrist. Translation was generally minimal in all carpal bones throughout wrist motion. This study reports results from the largest cadaver wrist kinematics study completed to date. The accuracy of the current method was improved when compared to previous studies. A sufficient number of specimens to allow statistical comparison was used and minimal interspecimen variability was noted. This study enabled a precise description of quantitative analyses of normal carpal kinematics relative to the radius.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)787-793
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Capitate
  • Carpal bone
  • Kinematics
  • Lunate
  • Scaphoid
  • Wrist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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