Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


Years ago I fell out of a tree and broke and displaced the end of my radial bone. I had to have surgery with wires to hold it all together. I just read the results of my most recent X-ray and CT scan, which said, "Moderate non-inflammatory arthrosis." What does that mean?


Arthrosis is a term sometimes used in place of the word 'joint.' It is also used to describe degenerative changes affecting a joint. On an X-ray this may look like a narrowed joint space or bone spurs in and around the joint.

The radius or radial bone is the larger of two bones in the forearm. The smaller bone is the ulna. A displaced fracture refers to the fact that the bone has broken and moved so that the joint surfaces no longer match up.

Long-term studies of displaced radial fractures report that these changes are common. In fact more than 80% of the patients in the studies showed non-inflammatory joint changes. Patients still have good grip strength and motion so function isn't affected even after 15 years of follow-up.

Charles A. Goldfarb, MD, et al. Fifteen-Year Outcome of Displaced Intra-Articular Fractures of the Distal Radius. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. April 2006. Vol. 31A. No. 4. Pp. 633-639.

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