March 30, 2020 at 3:34 pm · drsahai · 0 comments
A Guide to Wrist Anatomy: Wrist Movement 101
Most people are surprised to find out how complex the wrist is. However, there is no such thing as a single wrist joint. As a matter of fact, it consists of several wrist joints. And these joints function together to provide wrist movement.
The wrist has several functions, such as:
- Moving your hand back and forth
- Moving your hand side to side
- Providing flexibility and strength to your hand
- Transferring forces from your arm to your hand
The complex structure of wrists allows for these functions. And therefore, the bones, ligaments, tendons, joints, nerves, and blood vessels all work together.
The wrist bones consist of forearm bones, carpal bones, and hand bones, such as:
- Radius: long arm bone in the forearm on the thumb side
- Ulna: smaller forearm bone on the pinky side
There is a triangular articular disc at the end of the ulna. And this piece of cartilage cushions your wrist bones. However, there is not a direct joint between the ulna and the wrist.
- Proximal carpals: the row closest to your forearm
- Distal carpals: is the row closer to your fingers
There are eight carpal bones in total. The distal carpals make up five separate joints of your hand bones. Your hand bones are also known as metacarpal bones. And they connect the distal carpals to your thumb and fingers.
Wrist Joints and Wrist Movement
Each set of joints in the wrist are different and have different functions.
Distal radioulnar joint: (located between the ulna and radius.) This joint allows for forearm rotation. The radius rotates around a stable ulna.
Radiocarpal joint: (radius meets the first row of carpals.) This joint is the main wrist joint. It is a condyloid joint, however, so it allows for multiple planes of motion. This joint lets your wrist move side-to-side and up and down. Furthermore, this is the joint that allows for circular wrist movements.
Midcarpal joint: (located where distal and proximal carpals meet.) This joint has both gliding and condyloid joints. Next, the gliding joint provides up, down, left, right, and diagonal movement. Therefore, the two joints work together to give full wrist movement.
Carpometacarpal joints: These are small joints between each distal carpal and the metacarpals.
Saddle joint: The specific carpometacarpal joint allows you to use your thumb as a joystick.
The carpometacarpal joints at the fingers are gliding joints. You can perform the side-to-side motion. The joint at the little finger has more range of motion than the others.
The most common wrist fracture occurs at the radiocarpal joint. This fracture is known as a distal radius fracture. Then, the scaphoid comes second to commonly broken wrist bones.
Also see, Wrist Fractures We Bet You Haven’t Heard Of
The most common wrist movement is the dart thrower’s arc. It involves bending the wrist forward and back. And actions such as hammering, throwing, drinking, and pouring use this movement. Your wrist bends at an average angle of 30 to 45 degrees during extension (backward). And it moves 5 to 10 degrees on average during flexion (foreword).
Your wrist provides a great deal of movement each day. So it is prone to injury. The several soft tissues support movement and also provide nourishment to the hand. These tissues, such as blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and ligaments, and joints, keep your wrist in good health.
If you are experiencing wrist pain, call us to speak to a specialist at 888-409-8006.
Tags: wrist education Categories: Wrist