The wrist consists of 8 carpal bones, 2 of them being the scaphoid and the lunate. The scapholunate ligament holds the scaphoid and lunate bone together. This helps to maintain stability of the wrist when gripping or pushing from the wrist.  

What are causes of Scapholunate Ligament Injury?

Scapholunate ligament injury is commonly caused by a fall when the wrist is bent backwards or into an unusual position. Strain to the ligament can cause widening of the gap between the scaphoid and lunate bones. Chronic tears left untreated may lead to pain, dysfunction and arthritis. 

What are signs and symptoms of Scapholunate Ligament Injury?

  • Pain or clicking with wrist movement
  • Reduced wrist movement
  • Swelling and weakness of the wrist

An X-ray of the wrist will show widening between the scaphoid and lunate bones, also known as the TerryThomas sign.  

How do you treat a Scapholunate Injury?

For a partial injury, the injury may be treated in a thermoplastic wrist splint for 4-6 weeks. Treatment also includes gradual strengthening and wrist proprioception when pain is reduced. A full scapholunate ligament tear often requires surgery. If your Hand Therapist suspects a complete tear, a referral to a surgeon would be arranged. Following surgery, Hand Therapy includes splinting, gradual wrist AROM and proprioception exercises.  

If you have any questions about a wrist injury, please get in touch today.