Transverse stability of the carpus. An analytical study

Marc Garcia‐Elias, Kai‐Nan ‐N An, William P. Cooney, Ronald L. Linscheid, Edmund Y.S. Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The stabilizing structures of the transverse carpal arch were studied utilizing an analytical model based on a rigid body spring model theory. This method was used to calculate the relative motion between carpal bones, the distribution of compressive forces in the intercarpal joints, and the tensions in the ligaments under simulated dorsopalmar compression. The contribution of each ligament against the effect of compression was determined by removing ligaments from the model. A multivariate analysis of variance disclosed that sectioning the flexor retinaculum alone does not significantly modify the distribution of forces in ligaments and joints (p = 0.33), and decreases dorsopalmar carpal stiffness by only 7.8%. In contrast, isolated removal of the palmar hamate–capitate ligament causes a pronounced weakening of the carpal structure, from an average fo 232 to 131 N/mm (p < 0.01). If the flexor retinaculum is removed in addition to releasing one palmar intercarpal ligament, a gross instability of the carpal arch is created.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-743
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1989


  • Carpus
  • Flexor retinaculum
  • Intercarpal force distribution
  • Wrist stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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