Sixteen fresh-frozen adult human cadaveric upper extremities were used in a biomechanical analysis of distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) stability. The relative contribution to stability of the DRUJ by the surrounding anatomic structures presumed to stabilize the joint was analyzed with respect to forearm rotation and wrist flexion and extension using a purpose-built 4-axis materials testing machine. The dominant structures stabilizing the DRUJ were the ligamentous components of the triangular fibrocartilage complex proper. The major constraint to dorsal translation of the distal ulna relative to the radius is the palmar radioulnar ligament. Palmar translation of the distal ulna relative to the radius is constrained primarily by the dorsal radioulnar ligament, with secondary constraint provided by the palmar radioulnar ligament and interosseous membrane. The ulnocarpal ligaments and extensor carpi ulnaris subsheath did not contribute significantly to DRUJ stability; however, approximately 20% of DRUJ constraint is provided by the articular contact of the radius and ulna. These relationships were consistent regardless of wrist position or degree of forearm rotation.

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