DRUJ Instability/Arthritis

Chronic repetitive use or direct trauma can cause distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) instability and/or arthritis.

DRUJ Instability/Arthritis

The distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) 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 associated with this condition are 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.

DRUJ Instability/Arthritis, Ulnocarpal Impaction, DIP Pinning for Mallet Finger

Personalized care

As our patient, you will have an in-depth consultation with one of our doctors. We will create an individualized treatment plan together, tailored to your problem and lifestyle. Our doctors prefer non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy and/or injections. If your problem ultimately does require surgery, our doctors prefer the least invasive surgical techniques possible. Our goals are the same as yours: to get you back to living your best life, pain free. 

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