Clinical Wrist Examination

In the past, a diagnosis of “wrist sprain” or “undiagnosed wrist pain” was a common diagnosis for a patient. However, as our understanding of anatomy, mechanics , and pathology has developed, so too have more sophisticated examination procedures.

These allow a more specific diagnosis of wrist problems and enable patients to receive timely and appropriate treatment. The wrist is a highly complex joint. Successful examination requires a thorough knowledge of wrist anatomy, biomechanics and pathology, as well as a working knowledge of surface anatomy.

At Hand Works Occupational Therapy, we strive to provide the best possible outcomes for patients. This means we are required to continuously develop our knowledge and skill-set to correctly identify and diagnose the reasons for wrist pain.

Senior therapists Stuart Wilson and Lani McAuliffe have recently commenced a quality improvement project looking at maintaining expert skills in examining the wrist as well as educating staff therapists on correct techniques. The idea of creating a “Video Library” was developed. This video library will include video tutorials on best practice techniques for provocative testing for a number of different wrist diagnoses. Each tutorial will include anatomy surrounding the injury, how to complete the assessment, mechanism of injury for each particular diagnoses, as well as further assessments to confirm the diagnosis.

Thus far video tutorials have been created for:

• Identifying surface anatomy

• Scapholunate Ligament Injuries

• Lunotriquetral Ligament Injuries

• Midcarpal Instability

• Pisotriquetral Ligament Injuries

• TFCC Injuries

• DRUJ Instability