Anatomy of the Wrist
The wrist or radiocarpal joint, lies between the radius and ulna in the forearm and the 8 carpus bones in the hand; the scaphoid, lunate, pisiform, trapezium, capitate, triquetrum, trapezoid, and the hamate.
The wrist joint itself includes the carpal tunnel, the flexor retinaculum, and the extensor retinaculum. These bones are arranged in 2 rows; the 4 bones next to the forearm are called the proximal row and the 4 bones that run along the hand are called the distal row.
These wrist bones are held together by ligaments which are tough connective bands of tissue that attach the bones in the wrists together. Along with the bones, they stabilize the wrist and hand, balancing the joint and allowing movement in various directions.
The carpal tunnel is a canal that runs inside the inner part of the wrist. It's surrounded by a series or small wrist bones on three sides and by a rigid ligament, called the flexor retinaculum or transverse carpal ligament, that links the bones together creating the tunnel.
The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel along with 9 flexor tendons that attach the forearm bones to the palm of the hand.
The extensor retinaculum, also referred to as the posterior annular ligament or dorsal carpal ligament, is a large ligament band that runs across the back of the wrist. It attaches to the radius on the lateral, or outer side of the wrist, and to the most medial (inner) carpal bones in the wrist; the triquetrum and pisiform.
The bursae of the hand are found at the distinct synovial sheaths and the two main bursae are the ulnar bursa and the radial bursa. The ulnar bursa covers the tendons of the index, middle and ring fingers. The radial bursa covers the thumb tendon and extends to the wrist crease. Infection in the radial bursa and ulna bursa is known as a "horseshoe abscess".
The extensive use of the wrist puts it at a considerable risk for injury; athletes are at an even higher risk - 9% of all athletic injuries involve the wrist.
Common Wrist Injuries and Conditions
The wrist is vunerable to wrist injury during a fall and other conditions due to over use of the wrist joint. Some of the more common wrist injuries and conditions include:
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