Ulnocapitate ligament

Last revised by Joachim Feger on 10 Dec 2021

The ulnocapitate ligament is the most superficial of the three extrinsic palmar ulnocarpal ligaments and a volar stabilizer of the ulnocarpal complex 1-3.

The ulnocapitate ligament is the only ulnocarpal ligament directly attaching to the ulnar head. It runs superficial to the ulnolunate and ulnotriquetral ligament reinforcing the palmar component of the lunotriquetral interosseous ligament. It connects the ulnar fovea to the capitate and interdigitates distally with fibers of the radioscaphocapitate ligament and fibers of the scaphotriquetral ligament, forming the palmar greater arc or arcuate ligament 1-3.

The ulnocapitate ligament originates directly at the fovea of the ulnar head near the attachments of the volar and dorsal radioulnar ligaments 1-3.

Distally ulnocapitate ligament inserts onto the body of the capitate 1-5.

The ulnocapitate ligament can be visualized on ultrasound with the transducer placed at the volar ulnar aspect of the wrist in the longitudinal plane slightly rotated radially towards the capitate bone. The long axis of the ligament is displayed as an echogenic, fibrillary structure coursing over the lunotriquetral joint and connecting the distal ulna to the capitate 2,3.

The ulnocapitate ligament is difficult to appreciate on MRI even with proper anatomic knowledge ref.

The ligament is most likely injured or involved in the following pathologic conditions 6:

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: volar wrist ligaments (Gray's illustrations)
    Drag here to reorder.