Negative ulnar variance describes a state where the ulna is abnormally shortened compared to the radius and plays an important role in wrist pathology.
There is a significant association between negative ulnar variance and Kienböck disease, although the majority of people with negative ulnar variance do not have this condition. A causal association is difficult to prove, however the effectiveness of decompressive procedures such as radial shortening or ulnar lengthening in relieving pain and preventing further collapse of the lunate supports this 1.
Ulnar impingement syndrome, a wrist condition caused by a shortened distal ulna impinging on the distal radius proximal to the sigmoid notch of radius, is usually due to acquired ulnar shortening but can be due to de novo negative ulnar variance 2.
- 1. Chen WS. Kienböck disease and negative ulnar variance. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2000;82 (1): 143-4. J Bone Joint Surg Am (link) - Pubmed citation
- 2. Cerezal L, Del piñal F, Abascal F et-al. Imaging findings in ulnar-sided wrist impaction syndromes. Radiographics. 22 (1): 105-21. Radiographics (full text) - Pubmed citation
- 3. Voorhees DR, Daffner RH, Nunley JA et-al. Carpal ligamentous disruptions and negative ulnar variance. Skeletal Radiol. 1985;13 (4): 257-62. Pubmed citation