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The joint occurs proximally between the concave surface of the distal end of the radius and the articular disc of the distal radioulnar joint, and distally by the oval shaped convex surface of the proximal carpal row (the scaphoid, lunate and triquetral bones).
- adduction / ulnar deviation
- abduction / radial deviation
- combinations of the above-mentioned muscles are used to create circular hand motions about the wrist
Key features of the radiocarpal joint:
- condyloid joint (ellipsoidal)
- distal radius articulates with the scaphoid, lunate, and triquetrum (carpal bones)
- normal ulnar slant 15-25º
- normal palmar inclination 15-20º
The distal radius broadens to possess a large articular surface and has a radial styloid process that usually extends 9-12 mm distal to the articular surface of the ulnar. This results in an ulnar slant and palmar inclination at the radiocarpal joint.
Multiple separate ligaments stabilize the adjacent carpal bones to the distal radius.
- radial collateral ligament: attach to the styloid process
- radioscaphocapitate ligament
- radiolunate ligament
- radioscapholunate ligament
- radioscaphoid ligament
- radiolunate ligament
- radiotriquetral ligament
- flexor digitorum superficialis and profundus tendons
- flexor carpi radialis and ulnaris tendons
- flexor pollicis longus tendons
- palmaris longus tendon
- extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis tendons
- extensor pollicis longus tendon
- extensor digitorum tendons
- extensor indicis tendon
- extensor digiti minimi tendon
- extensor carpi ulnaris tendon
- abductor pollicis longus tendon
- extensor pollicis brevis tendon
The tendon of the brachioradialis muscle attaches to the styloid process of the distal radius. In turn, it does not pass over the radiocarpal joint.
- palmar carpal arch
- dorsal carpal arch
- anterior interosseous nerve arising from median nerve (C5-T1)
- posterior interosseous nerve arising from radial nerve (C7-C8)
Ulnar variance refers to the relative positioning of the ulnar and radial articular surfaces at the level of the radiolunate articulation.