Ossification centres of the wrist

Ossification of the wrist can be divided into two components:

  • carpal bone ossification centres
  • distal radial and ulna ossification centres

Ossification of the carpal bones

Ossification of the carpal bones occurs in a predictable sequence, starting with the capitate and ending with the pisiform.

At birth, there is no calcification in the carpal bones. Although there is great individual variability, approximate ossification times are as follows 1:

Excluding the pisiform, a handy way to remember the order of ossification is to start at the capitate then move in a counterclockwise direction on the volar surface of the right carpus.

Ossification centres of the distal radius and ulna

  • distal radius: 1 year
  • distal ulna: 5-6 years
Upper limb anatomy
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Article information

rID: 12232
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Carpal bone ossification centers
  • Carpal bone ossification center sequence
  • Ossification of the carpal bones
  • Wrist ossification centres
  • Ossification centres of the distal radius and ulna
  • Distal radius ossification
  • Distal ulna ossification

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: carpal ossification
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