Article by Dr. Darren R Keiser MD
Kienböcks disease is a condition where the blood supply to one of the small bones in the wrist, the lunate, is interrupted. Bone is living tissue that requires a regular supply of blood for nourishment. If the blood supply to a bone stops, the bone can die. This is called osteonecrosis. Damage to the lunate causes a painful, stiff wrist and, over time, can lead to arthritis.
The cause of Kienböck’s disease is not known. Many people with Kienböck’s disease think they have a sprained wrist at first. They may have experienced some form of trauma to the wrist, such as a fall. This type of trauma can disrupt the blood flow to the lunate.
Some things may put you more at risk for the disease. For example, most people have two vessels that supply blood to the lunate, but in some people there is only one source. This may slow the blood flow to the bone. In addition, if the two bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) are different lengths, extra pressure can be put on the lunate during some wrist motions. Over time, this extra stress on the bone may lead to Kienböck’s disease.
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Article URL: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00017