The effects of wrist distraction on carpal kinematics

Jun Ichi Ishikawa, William P. Cooney, Glen Niebur, Kai Nan An, Akio Minami, Kiyoshi Kaneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Changes in carpal kinematics under wrist distraction were studied in fresh cadaveric specimens. A magnetic tracking device measured kinematic motions of the scaphoid, lunate, and third metacarpal relative to the fixed radius in 3 planes of passive motion (coronal, sagittal, and 'dart throwers') under progressive distraction loads. The change in percent contribution of the radiocarpal and midcarpal joints was calculated. Radiocarpal motion during extension was decreased as increasing traction was applied, but it increased with flexion. Motion of the scaphoid relative to the lunate was smaller in the oblique plane, resulting in less radiocarpal motion than in the sagittal plane. In the coronal plane, traction had little effect on radial deviation, but ulnar angulation of the scaphoid was greater with ulnar deviation of the wrist. These results suggest that different degrees of tension exist in the palmar and dorsal ligaments with the wrist under traction and during different planes of wrist motion. If wrist motion is desired during fixed traction, such as used clinically with external fixation, the dart-throwers motion (wrist extension with radial deviation and wrist flexion with ulnar deviation) appears to have the least impact on radiocarpal motion. If greater radiocarpal motion is desired, however, such as during postoperative mobilization, flexion-extension and radioulnar deviation will create more radiocarpal motion than the dart-thrower's motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-120
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


  • Carpal kinematics
  • Distal radius fracture
  • Wrist distraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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