Chronic repetitive use, or direct trauma can cause distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) instability and/or arthritis.
The distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) is a joint that is located between the ulnar head and the sigmoid notch of the radius. It is stabilized by various ligaments and the TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex). It can become unstable most commonly after distal radius fractures or TFCC tears (“See TFCC tear” for more information). Some symptoms that are associated with this is pain with forearm rotation, crepitus, snapping/clicking sensation, and decreased grip strength. Radiographs can help diagnose your condition by showing widening at the DRUJ or ulnar head subluxation. Sometimes more advanced imaging is also used to evaluate the injury. This may be treated in a variety of ways depending on whether your injury is acute or chronic. Sometimes simple immobilization will be sufficient, while other times operative intervention may be necessary.
In other cases, arthritis may develop in the DRUJ over time. This can be diagnosed with careful examination and x-rays. On x-rays the DRUJ may be narrow and there may be degenerative changes within the joint. This may lead to pain, crepitus and weakness in the wrist. Treatment may involve immobilization, cortisone injections, or ultimately surgical intervention. See our “Procedures” page for more information.
Every patient receives an in-depth consultation to devise a treatment plan that is right for their problem. Our specialists prefer non-operative and non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy, medications, and/or injections. When we require surgery, we will then use minimally invasive surgical techniques to fix your problem, whether it is fixing a broken bone or repairing a tendon. Our goal is always to get you back to living your life normally as soon as possible.