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J Hand Surg Am. 2018 Apr;43(4):339-345. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2017.10.019. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

Effect of Push-Up Position on Wrist Joint Pressures in the Intact Wrist and Following Scapholunate Interosseous Ligament Sectioning.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY. Electronic address:



To determine the contact pressures between the scaphoid and lunate and the distal radius during 2 wrist push-up positions before and following scapholunate interosseous ligament (SLIL) sectioning.


Eight fresh cadaveric wrists were tested in a neutral flexion-extension (knuckle) push-up position and in an extended push-up position. Pressure measurements were acquired as each wrist was loaded with the wrist in extension and with the wrist in a neutral position. Data were acquired with the SLIL intact and following sectioning of its dorsal, volar, and proximal components. The wrist was disarticulated and a map drawn on each sensor to identify each joint fossa.


A push-up performed with the wrist in extension caused a significantly greater peak pressure in the radioscaphoid fossa but not in the radiolunate fossa. Moving the wrist into extension caused a significant dorsal movement of the pressure centroid an average of 2.9 mm in the radiolunate fossa and an average of 5.7 mm in the radioscaphoid fossa. Sectioning the SLIL caused the centroid of pressure in the radioscaphoid fossa to significantly move an average 1.4 mm radially.


A push-up with the wrist in extension causes a significant increase in the pressure in the radioscaphoid fossa but not in the radiolunate. This finding may help explain why degenerative arthritis first develops in the radioscaphoid fossa before involving the radiolunate fossa. As expected, gapping that occurs with SLIL injury was observed here as a radial translation of the scaphoid and not as a movement of the lunate. The new location of scaphoid contact may be an additional reason for the development of radioscaphoid arthritis occurring before radiolunate arthritis.


This study provides a possible explanation as to why degenerative arthritis may first occur in the radioscaphoid fossa.


Push up; scapholunate interosseous ligament; wrist joint pressures

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