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J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2008 Dec;33(6):698-711. doi: 10.1177/1753193408090148. Epub 2008 Oct 20.

The non-dissociative clunking wrist: a personal view.

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  • 1Institut Kaplan, Barcelona, Spain.


Clunking of the wrist is often the result of a combined radiocarpal and midcarpal ligament insufficiency, coupled with inadequate neuromuscular coordination. When symptomatic, these wrists may benefit from splinting, isometric exercising of specific muscles and advice on activity modification. Failing this, different surgical strategies have been proposed, depending on the location of dysfunction. When the clunking derives from an isolated injury of one joint, reconstruction of its inadequate ligaments may be an effective solution. However, soft tissue procedures tend to fail when clunking results from multilevel instability. In these cases, partial carpal arthrodesis is an alternative. Although effective in eliminating the clunking, midcarpal fusion is associated with alteration of the so-called "dart-throwing" motion, the most common rotation in daily activities, and hence is not recommended. Radiolunate fusion, by contrast, appears to be a less morbid alternative, with the benefit of eliminating the painful clunking while preserving a good range of dart-throwing motion.

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