Thursday, 6 December 2007

Wrist (Radiocarpal ) Impingement and mild arthritis

Mr White (not his real name) is a 120kg weightlifter in his 20s who suffered from right wrist pain since 2 weeks duration. Prior to his competition he came to see me as the pain was preventing him from lifting beyond maximal capacity during 'clean and jerk'. His earlier X-ray did not show any fracture or osteophytes.

I examined his wrist yesterday morning only to find tenderness and slight fullness (synovitis) over the lunate bone in his right wrist. Forceful wrist hyperextension ellicits the same pain he experiences doing 'cleans'. Resisted extension was unaffected (ruling out extensor digitorum communis tendon involvement) He would need to rule out a lunate stress fracture (Radioisotope Bone Scans would be useful). He did not have any scaphoid bone tenderness although it is more common amongst weightlifters.

While awaiting his Radioisotope Bone Scan to rule out a stress fracture or Kienbock's Disease he would need to avoid doing 'cleans' and reduce the load of lifts. An ultrasound scan would be able to determine the extent of joint and tendon involvement with a musculoskeletal radiologist. Meanwhile, he should not participate in competition as it could worsen his condition. He would benefit from daily low frequency ultrasound (Exogen) for another 2 - 4 weeks. If symptoms persists he would need to be reviewed. MRI Scan could be an option then.

Interesting links:-
Wrist arthritis
A possible complication: Kienbock Disease

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