Kienbock’s Disease

Kienbock’s disease is a rare disorder that results in the death and deterioration of the lunate, one of the small carpal bones crucial in wrist movement. Kienbock’s disease primarily affects young adults and results in wrist pain, weakness, and loss of motion.


Kienbock’s disease is fairly uncommon and the exact cause of the disease is still unknown. It is thought that pressure and a compromise in the blood flow to the lunate leads to death of the bone’s cells. It may occur after a traumatic event, although many cases of the disease cannot be tied to any trauma. The disease is typically only found in one wrist.


An early symptom of Kienbock’s disease is generally light pain. Over time, patients will experience tenderness, stiffness, swelling, limited motion, and difficulty gripping. The intensity of symptoms ranges from mild to severe, depending on the stages of the disease.


Diagnosing Kienbock’s disease can be difficult, especially in early stages, because it resembles common wrist pain. Physicians will examine medical history, pain, movement, and lifestyle factors that may contribute to the disease. X-rays and MRIs may also be used to examine the wrist, lunate density, and blood flow.


The most effective treatments for Keinbock’s disease are still being determined in the medical community. Treatment tends to vary depending on the state of the disease and the severity of pain. Physicians typically use casting or bracing and anti-inflammatory medications, although this does not stop the disease from progressing. Surgery such as a bone graft or fusion of the carpal bones in the wrist is recommended if conservative treatments are not effective.

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