Load mechanics of the wrist

S. F. Viegas, R. M. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


During the last decade, we have been studying load mechanics under a variety of conditions using pressure-sensitive film and, more recently, three-dimensional reconstructions and motion analysis. In all of these studies using pressure-sensitive film, the simulated pathologic or traumatic conditions that were tested showed that all areas in which an increase in contact area or pressure occurred, localized to one area of one joint, coincided with areas in which degenerative changes occurred in the simulated clinical situation. The areas in which there was a decrease or no change in contact area or pressure coincided with areas that were spared from degenerative changes in simulated clinical situations. More recent work has demonstrated that normal carpal kinematics during wrist flexion and extension do not have an instantaneous screw axis that is fixed in or limited to the capitate. These findings change the understanding previously based on studies suggesting that the center of rotation was fixed in the capitate. It was noted that during global wrist motion the radioluhate joint contributes more motion and flexion than the capitolunate joint, but the capitolunate joint contributes more motion and extension than the radiolunate joint. It also was demonstrated that translational motion is a normal component of carpal kinematics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalHand Clinics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


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