Kienbock’s disease is limited to the wrist, but it can cause symptoms ranging from wrist pain to even frank depression. This is mainly because of the functional restraints imposed by the disease. It is also related to the inability to find complete relief from symptoms despite trying several treatment options. The exact cause of the disease is still not properly understood. Hence, the treatment options offered to a person, are highly variable, depending on the experience of the orthopedic surgeon.

The lack of consensus, regarding treatment of Kienbock’s disease, is mainly due to the variability of factors causing the disease. Moreover, sometimes improper technique of surgery, leaves many patients with more disability, than with the initial disease. Hence, it is prudent to consult an orthopedic surgeon, who has specialized in hand surgery, who has reputable finesse in his work.

Symptoms of Kienbock’s Disease

Wrist pain, without any known injury, is by far the most common symptom in Kienbock’s disease. The wrist pain is initially on and off and comes only during lifting weights. Patients of Kienbock’s disease have come to a variety of specialists, with regard to completely different problems, which have been later attributed to an insidious wrist pain and malfunction. This is mainly because, pain in Kienbock’s disease is mild initially, so it is easily avoidable by using the other hand. This happens at the subconscious level, and so a person may not even be aware of the fact. This subtle change of habits (like handedness), leads to a different type of stress on the lifestyle, and can lead to intense frustration. Especially, with those individuals that are already under stress. Thus, the picture can be quite complicated, and lead to surprising pathways of discomfort and depression !

In the later stages of the disease, the pain is replaced by stiffness of the wrist. This is not only due to the degeneration and collapse of the lunate, but also due to the earlier reluctance in using the affected hand. In terminal disease, wrist arthritis makes all movements of wrist painful and the pain may even persist to occur when the hand is at rest.

Can wrist fracture cause Kienbock’s Disease ?

The answer to this question is a flat no or rather never. It is true that a fracture causes injury to blood vessels and so this may hamper the blood supply of bones. However, a fracture mostly results in injury to the periosteal blood vessels (vessels close to the bone) and these vessels are very skillfully repaired during the healing of the bony injury by the process of inflammation. So a fracture is followed by a complete renovation of the bony architecture along with the supportive structures like blood vessels. Thus, the end result is a renewed and improved blood supply to the fractured bone. Hence, a wrist fracture can never really cause Kienbock’s disease.

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Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on April 12, 2011