The Effect of Lunate Morphology on the 3-Dimensional Kinematics of the Carpus

Gregory Bain, H Clitherow, S Millar, Francois Fraysse, John Costi, Kevin Eng, D Maguire, Dominic Thewlis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose To assess carpal kinematics in various ranges of motion in 3 dimensions with respect to lunate morphology.

    Methods Eight cadaveric wrists (4 type I lunates, 4 type II lunates) were mounted into a customized platform that allowed controlled motion with 6 degrees of freedom. The wrists were moved through flexion-extension (15°-15°) and radioulnar deviation (RUD; 20°-20°). The relative motion of the radius, carpus, and third metacarpal were recorded using optical motion capture methods.

    Results Clear patterns of carpal motion were identified. Significantly greater motion occurred at the radiocarpal joint during flexion-extension of type I wrist than a type II wrist. The relative contributions of the midcarpal and radiocarpal articulations to movement of the wrist differed between the radial, the central, and the ulnar columns. During wrist flexion and extension, these contributions were determined by the lunate morphology, whereas during RUD, they were determined by the direction of wrist motion. The midcarpal articulations were relatively restricted during flexion and extension of a type II wrist. However, during RUD, the midcarpal joint of the central column became the dominant articulation.

    Conclusions This study describes the effect of lunate morphology on 3-dimensional carpal kinematics during wrist flexion and extension. Despite the limited size of the motion arcs tested, the results represent an advance on the current understanding of this topic. Clinical relevance Differences in carpal kinematics may explain the effect of lunate morphology on pathological changes within the carpus. Differences in carpal kinematics due to lunate morphology may have implications for the management of certain wrist conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)81-89.e1
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Hand Surgery-American Volume
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


    • Carpus
    • kinematics
    • lunate morphology
    • wrist


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