Impaction Syndromes About the Wrist

Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2023 Jan;16(1):1-8. doi: 10.1007/s12178-022-09809-9. Epub 2022 Nov 26.


Purpose of review: Impaction syndromes are frequently a source of ulnar-sided wrist pain and patient disability. Differentiating between these entities can be difficult due to significant overlap in their clinical presentations. This manuscript reviews the diagnosis and treatment of three different impaction syndromes: (1) ulnar impaction syndrome, (2) hamate arthrosis lunotriquetral ligament syndrome, and (3) triquetrohamate impaction syndrome.

Recent findings: While non-operative treatment is always recommended upon initial presentation, the duration and extent of treatment are poorly defined. Diagnostic wrist arthroscopy usually confirms the clinical diagnosis and facilitates appropriate surgical management. Pain from ulnar impaction syndrome can be effectively treated with an ulnar shortening osteotomy, which unloads the ulnar aspect of the carpus, but complications have been reported secondary to hardware prominence and nonunion at the osteotomy site. Hamate arthrosis lunotriquetral ligament syndrome can be addressed by arthroscopically or openly excising the proximal pole of the hamate, while triquetrohamate impaction syndrome demands a debridement procedure with partial excision of the impinging triquetrum or hamate. In summary, impaction syndromes are underappreciated clinical entities but are known causes of ulnar-sided wrist pain. Maintaining a high index of suspicion will help to expedite appropriate non-operative and operative treatment. Surgical intervention-if needed-is often curative.

Keywords: Hamate arthrosis lunotriquetral ligament syndrome; Triquetrohamate impaction syndrome; Ulnar impaction syndrome; Ulnar-sided wrist pain; Wrist arthroscopy.

Publication types

  • Review