Carpal instability happens when there is a loss of normal alignment of the finger and wrist bones or joints. The carpal joint consists of a variety of ligaments, blood vessels and nerves. The instability creates a disturbance of the normal balance of the carpal bones and joints which results in changes to the range of motion.
Carpal instability leads to progressive limitation of movement, arthritis, chronic pain and disability. Carpal instability has high potential for arthritis.
The origin of carpal injury is usually a traumatic event. Carpal instability can be caused from traumatic injuries, chronic repetitive stress, and microcrystal deposits due to arthritis or gout. Chronic ligament injuries can lead to carpal instability in certain cases. High-energy ligament injuries are more common in a young population, while degenerative problems are more common in elderly patients.
Continuous normal daily loading of the wrist can result in severe carpal instability. Carpal instability is more common in young and middle aged populations. Carpal instability can lead to specific fractures from high-energy injuries.
The main goal of treatment interventions is to preserve the functionality of the carpal bones and joints. Severe chronic instability can be treated with arthroscopic surgery.