Correlation between delayed carpal tunnel syndrome and carpal malalignment after distal radial fracture

J Orthop Surg Res. 2023 May 17;18(1):365. doi: 10.1186/s13018-023-03844-z.


Background: Delayed carpal tunnel syndrome after Colles' fracture is a common complication particularly following conservative treatment. The aim of the study was to verify the correlation of different radiological parameters of carpal alignment and the development as well as the severity of DCTS in elderly female patients within 6 months of distal radial fracture (DRF).

Methods: This is a retrospective case-control study that included 60 female patients with DRF within 6 months treated conservatively (30 patients with signs and symptoms suggestive of DCTS and 30 asymptomatic patients as a control group). Electrophysiological evaluation was done for all the participants, as well as radiological assessment to measure parameters of carpal alignment mainly radiocapitate distance (RCD), volar prominence height (VPH) and volar tilt (VT).

Results: There was a statistical significant difference between both groups regarding the radiological parameters of carpal alignment (The mean values of RCD, VT and VPH were - 11.48 mm, - 20.68° angle, and 2.24 mm respectively in the symptomatic group). A strong correlation was found between decrease in the parameters of carpal alignment and the severity of DCTS. Logistic regression analysis showed that VT is strongly involved in the development of DCTS. The threshold value of the VT was - 20.2° angle (sensitivity 0.83; specificity 0.9; odds ratio 45; 95% CI 0.894-0.999; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Anatomical alteration of the carpal tunnel after DRF with dorsal displacement of the carpal bones contribute to the development of DCTS. Decreasing VT and VPH and RCD are the most significant independent predictors for the development of DCTS in conservatively managed DRF. Protocol ID: 0306060.

Keywords: Carpal malalignment; Carpal tunnel syndrome; Diagnosis; Distal radius; Electrodiagnosis; Fracture; Nerve entrapment; Wrist.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carpal Bones* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome* / complications
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome* / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Radius Fractures* / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wrist Fractures*