Ligament Injuries

Scapholunate Ligament Injuries 

The scapholunate ligament is a thick band of tissue connecting the wrist’s scaphoid and lunate bones. This ligament is responsible for full wrist motions and should allow the wrist to move without pain. The scapholunate ligament is the most injured in the wrist, and most minor injuries result in “wrist sprains.” However, varying degrees of injury to the scapholunate ligament can be painful and result in instability within the wrist. Injuries occur when the wrist suffers excessive stress usually caused by a fall that causes the wrist to bend into an unusual position. **Various forms of imaging are requested to properly assess the severity of the injury**

** Kienböck’s Disease which occurs when the blood supply to the lunate bone is interrupted. While the exact cause of this disease is unknown, patients with this condition may have symptoms like a scapholunate injury. 


  • Pain when bending
  • Swelling (commonly on the back side of the wrist) that develops and lasts over a period of several days
  • Weakness and limited range of motion
  • Bruising
  • Popping or grinding

Treatment Options:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aleve or Ibuprofen
  • Prescription pain medication
  • Bracing or Splinting
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Surgery (if the injury is severe that includes a tear or if conservative treatment options are not effective)
Diagnosis of a scapholunate ligament injury may be difficult to determine. Dr. Watkins will conduct a comprehensive exam along, review of previous medical history, and may order imaging of both extremities for comparison. Possible surgical treatments are varied depending on the specific, underlying injury. 

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