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Malacia of the Lunate (Kienböck’s disease)

Lunatomalacia may occur as a result of repeated trauma or impacts. The circulation of the lunate is disturbed, and the bone softens and becomes devascularized. This injury is associated with a slightly shortened ulna in relation to the radius at the wrist (this is called negative variance).

Symptoms and diagnosis

– Movements are painful and restricted.
– Swelling and tenderness occur over the lunate.
– Weakness of the hand.
– Decreased size and sclerosis (increased bone density) of the lunate are seen on X-ray.


The athlete should:
– rest the wrist;
– consult a doctor.

The doctor may:
– verify the diagnosis by X-ray or bone scan;
– immobilize the wrist in the acute stage;
– resort to surgery to relieve stress on the lunate in mild cases, or perform fusions for advanced cases.

The decision to return to sport will depend on individual circumstances.

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