Distal radioulnar joint dislocation

Mr Andrew Murphy and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Isolated distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) dislocations are rare and are more commonly part of complex forearm fracture-dislocations. 

Wrist pain, swelling and deformity following FOOSH or direct trauma. The patient will be unable to supinate/pronate the forearm 1,2

Distal radioulnar joint dislocation may be dorsal (more common) or volar 1. If more than 50% of the articular surfaces do not articulate, then the term DRUJ subluxation is used 3.

Associated injuries include 4:

  • tear of the dorsal radioulnar ligament of the TFCC
  • disruption of the dorsal DRUJ capsule

This injury is typically described by the position of the ulna compared to the radius 2

  • true lateral radiograph of the wrist is vital (as little as 10º of rotation can result in misinterpretation) 2
  • widened distal radioulnar joint space on frontal projections, with dislocation/subluxation evident on lateral projections

DRUJ dislocations are also part of Galeazzi and Essex-Lopresti injuries.

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Article information

rID: 34377
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Distal radioulnar joint dislocations
  • Distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) dislocation
  • DRUJ dislocation
  • DRUJ subluxation

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