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J Hand Surg Br. 1996 Apr;21(2):197-201.

Midcarpal instability: is capitolunate instability pattern a clinical condition?

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Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri, USA.


Five cases are presented with clinical findings of capito-lunate instability pattern of the wrist. All painful areas and tender points were dorsal, but variable in location and intensity. All plain radiographs and fluoroscopic instability series were normal. None of the cases had an explanation for the dorsal wrist pain other than a positive dorsal capitate-displacement test. Four out of five cases were treated in a cast for 4 weeks and two had subsequent splint immobilization. Although at short-term follow-up two of these five patients became pain-free, none was completely pain-free at long-term follow-up. Three patients treated with a cast had long-term follow-up. Only one could perform his original work. These findings support a clinical condition of midcarpal instability producing dorsal wrist pain reproduced with a simple stress test. Conservative, non-operative treatment will not usually produce long-term pain relief.

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