Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ

Question:

My husband has been diagnosed with Kienbock's disease after have a sore wrist for a while. He thought he had sprained it but after it didn't get better, he went to the doctor. How common is the disease and how could we have known earlier that it wasn't a sprain?

Answer:

The cause of Kienbock's disease isn't yet known; it isn't a very common disease. The disease causes a lack of blood circulation to the lunate bone, a small bone that goes from your wrist to your hand. Because the blood can't feed the bone the nutrients it needs, the bone tissue begins to die.

The symptoms of Kienbock's disease are very similar to spraining your wrist, so it is easy to believe that you've merely hurt your hand. Symptoms can be:

  • pain and swelling
  • wrist stiffness
  • tenderness on the top of the hand
  • pain on turning the hand, palm up
  • reduced strength to the hand
  • Surgery may be tried to re-establish blood flow to the bone or to fuse bones together. Rohit Arora, MD, et al. Long-Term Subjective and Radiological Outcome After Reconstruction of Kienbock's Disease Stage 3 Treated by a Free Vascularized Iliac Bone Graft. Journal of Hand Surgery. February 2008. Vol. 33. No 2. Pp. 175-181.

    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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