Dorsal radioulnar ligament

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 25 Nov 2020

The dorsal radioulnar ligament is one of the primary stabilizers of the distal radioulnar joint and forms part of the triangular fibrocartilage complex 1,2.

  • location: extending from posterior margin of the ulnar notch at the distal radius to the posterior portion of the head of the ulna
  • blood supply: palmar and dorsal branches of the anterior interosseous artery
  • innervation: anterior and posterior interosseous nerve
  • relations: volar radioulnar ligament

Along with the volar radioulnar ligament, the dorsal radioulnar ligament forms one of the primary soft tissue stabilizers of the distal radioulnar joint 1. There are deep and superficial divisions which can be considered as separate laminae and attach into the fovea and ulna styloid respectively 2.

The distal radioulnar joint articulation is formed by the ulnar seat 3 and the medial articular facet (sigmoid notch) of the radius 1. The semicylindrical and convex shape of the ulna head coupled with the heterogeneously concave sigmoid notch contribute to the propensity for joint instability 1.

The dorsal radioulnar ligament is intimately related to the volar radioulnar ligament. During pronation the volar ligament becomes progressively lax while the dorsal ligament tightens and the converse occurs during supination 4.

The general blood supply to the distal radioulnar joint is via the palmar and dorsal branches of the anterior interosseous artery 5. At the proximal border of the pronator quadratus the branches arborize to supply the capsule in addition to the palmar, medial and dorsal sides of the articular disc while the central portion of the disc is avascular 5.

Drainage occurs via veins that correspond to the named arteries.

The nervous supply occurs via the anterior interosseous nerve and posterior interosseous nerve which are branches of the median and radial nerves respectively.

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