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The Healthy Wrist

Clip Number: 2 of 33
Presentation: Distal Radius Fracture Surgery
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Let's begin by discussing the basic structure of your wrist.
The bones that make up the wrist joint are the radius, ulna and carpal bones. The radius and ulna are long bones that extend from the elbow to the wrist - where they meet with the small carpal bones to form the wrist joint.
Muscles attach to the radius and ulna, which extend into the wrist and the hand. Together, these muscles provide for the range of motion of the wrist and fingers.
The radius, ulna, and carpal bones are all attached to one another with strong bands of tissue called ligaments. Where these bones move across one another, they are covered by a special kind of tissue called articular cartilage. This cartilage provides a slippery gliding surface and allows the bones to move smoothly.
Blood vessels and nerves also cross the wrist joint. The nerves allow for feeling and movement of the wrist and hand, while the blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrients to the hand.
The carpal tunnel is a confined space, or tunnel, in the wrist. One of the nerves to the hand, called the median nerve, and several tendons, called flexor tendons, pass through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is on the palm side of the wrist. We will discuss the carpal tunnel again later.

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