What is Medial Subluxation?

23 August 2017  |  Eugene

The wrist is the most complex joint in the body, and so it's no surprise that it is one of the areas that is most prone to injury. These injuries can be vast in scope, with eight carpal bones that can be affected and two forearm bones, as well as a plethora of interconnected ligaments and tendons.

One of the most unpleasant injuries of the wrist is a dislocation, which is also known as Medial Subluxation. At WristSupports.co.uk, we're committed to keeping you healthy and informed, so we've put together a handy guide to Medial Subluxation, what it is, and what you can do about it.

What is Medial Subluxation?

Subluxation is defined as an incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint or organ, as opposed to luxation, which is a full dislocation. In the wrist, a Medial Subluxation most commonly refers to a partial dislocation of the distal radioulnar joint.

This is a joint at the wrist responsible for connecting both the ulna (little-finger-side forearm bone) and the radius (thumb-side forearm bone) to the rest of the wrist, hence the name radioulnar. It does this with the help of the articular disk, a fibrocartilaginous ligament which binds the radius and ulna together, allowing them to safely and smoothly move together during the vast array of motions that take place in the wrist.

During Medial Subluxation, the ulna and radius will partially separate at the radioulnar joint, which can cause a host of other problems in the wrist. Often, this type of injury will involve a fracture of either the radius or the ulna, which can make the condition extremely difficult to diagnose.

Medial subluxation is a type of partial wrist dislocation

How Can I Tell if I Have Medial Subluxation?

Since this condition involves an array of different bones and ligaments, the severity can vary. It can be difficult for your physician to perceive initially, so we highly recommend seeing a doctor instead of relying on your own diagnosis. However, there are some telltale signs that can point you in the right direction. These can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The most common symptom is wrist pain following the inciting trauma
  • Swelling may develop around the wrist
  • Your wrist may become deformed, with visual displacement of the ulna or radius
  • Pain when turning the hand, or tenderness when pressing the area
  • Most tellingly, an excessive prominence of the ulnar head on the little-finger side of your wrist
  • Narrowing of the wrist in comparison to your healthy wrist

Causes of Medial Subluxation

While Medial Subluxation can be easy to see if you have a distinct deformity of your wrist, most commonly a protrusion of the ulnar head, it may be useful to think about how the injury may have occurred when pinning down your diagnosis. Here are some of the most common causes of Medial Subluxation:

  • Most commonly, a fall onto an outstretched hand
  • Oversupination of the wrist, where the palm turns upwards with force
  • Overpronation of the wrist, where the palm turns downwards with force
  • Fall on the hand that causes an unnatural bend
  • Ongoing untreated instability of the wrist
  • Performing repetitive stress movements, as in golf, racket sports and gymnastics

Treatment of Medial Subluxation

If you suspect you may have a Medial Subluxation, or another form of wrist dislocation, you should seek medical attention immediately. At that point they will carry out an x-ray to discern whether you're suffering from subluxation, or a full luxation of the wrist. If a full dislocation is diagnosed, depending on the severity surgery may be necessary, followed by immobilisation and, eventually, rehabilitation.

Wrist Braces for Medial Subluxation

For a simple Medial Subluxation, or in the latter stages of a full luxation, immobilisation of the area is key. This will prevent any abnormal movements of your wrist, helping you bones and ligaments to rest and reach a full recovery. This immobilisation will usually last for around six weeks, and should be accompanied by a classic regimen of icing, anti-inflammatory medication and elevation.

At WristSupports.co.uk, we live up to our name by having a wide range of supports for your Medial Subluxation. We can help you immobilise the area so it can heal, and have plenty of other supports for when you want to slowly reintroduce movement to the area.

To view our entire range of Wrist Supports for Medial Subluxation, click the yellow button below.


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