Scapholunate Instability/Tears (Carpal Instability)
Although the eight small bones (carpal bones) that make up the wrist are independent of each other, they are firmly held together to provide the wrist with extremely strong support. A complex group of ligaments ensure all of the bones are firmly supported and strong as a unit when the wrist is engaged in activity. An injury to any one of the ligaments can lead to pain and instability in the wrist.
Although injury to all of the ligaments in the wrist is possible, injury to the Scapholunate ligament that provides support to the scaphoid and lunate wrist bones is common. This ligament is often injured in forceful falls and injuries to the wrist. When injured, pain is felt in the posterior (outside) and central portions of the hand and wrist as the wrist is moving. A diagnosis is made by your physician following a comprehensive evaluation and MRI.
Depending on your level of injury, your physician may suggest a variety of treatment options ranging from conservative therapy and immobilization to surgery. In either case, hand therapy is often required to increase wrist motion and strength. Customized splinting performed by a hand therapy will often provide the support required to assist in the healing process.
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