The dorsal ligaments of the wrist: Anatomy, mechanical properties, and function

Steven F. Viegas, Satoshi Yamaguchi, Nolan L. Boyd, Rita M. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the anatomy and mechanical properties of the dorsal radiocarpal (DRC) and dorsal intercarpal (DIC) ligaments of the wrist and to better understand the functional design of the dorsal ligaments. The DRC ligament was consistently found to originate from the dorsal margin of the distal radius and extended ulnar obliquely and distally. Its radial fibers attached to the lunate and lunotriquetral interosseous ligament. The DRC ligament then inserted onto the dorsal tubercle of the triquetrum. The DIC ligament originated from the triquetrum and extended radially and attached onto the lunate, inserted into the dorsal groove of the scaphoid, and then extended to the trapezium. The DRC and DIC ligaments together, in their lateral V configuration, act effectively as a dorsal radioscaphoid ligament that has the ability to vary its length by changing the angle between the 2 arms of the V. The DRC-DIC ligaments' lateral V configuration allows normal carpal kinematics while maintaining its indirect dorsal stabilizing effect on the scaphoid throughout the range of motion of the wrist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-468
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1999


  • Anatomy
  • Dorsal intercarpal ligament
  • Dorsal radiocarpal ligament
  • Mechanical properties
  • Wrist


Dive into the research topics of 'The dorsal ligaments of the wrist: Anatomy, mechanical properties, and function'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this