Functional kinematics of the wrist

J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2016 Jan;41(1):7-21. doi: 10.1177/1753193415616939. Epub 2015 Nov 14.


The purpose of this article is to review past and present concepts concerning functional kinematics of the healthy and injured wrist. To provide a context for students of the wrist, we describe the progression of techniques for measuring carpal kinematics over the past century and discuss how this has influenced today's understanding of functional kinematics. Next, we provide an overview of recent developments and highlight the clinical relevance of these findings. We use these findings and recent evidence that supports the importance of coupled motion in early rehabilitation of radiocarpal injuries to develop the argument that coupled motion during functional activities is a clinically relevant outcome; therefore, clinicians should develop a framework for its dynamic assessment. This should enable a tailored and individualized approach to the treatment of carpal injuries.

Keywords: Carpal kinematics; carpus; dart thrower’s motion; midcarpal joint; scapholunate advanced collapse (SLAC); wrist coupled motion; wrist function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / physiopathology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology*
  • Carpal Bones / physiology
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Wrist Joint / physiology*