Closed reduction of volar distal radio-ulnar joint dislocation


1 Department of Orthopedic, Kassab Orthopedic Institute, Medical University of Tunis Manar, Tunis, Tunisia

2 Department of Orthopedic, Military Hospital of Instruction, Medical University of Tunis Manar, Tunis, Tunisia


Volar dislocation of the distal radio-ulnar joint (DRUJ) is a rare occurrence in the literature, with only a few cases reported. Dorsal dislocation is more common than a volar dislocation. It can be easily missed due to the lack of a specific clinical presentation. They can be treated by closed reduction or more commonly by open reduction internal fixation. We present a case of volar dislocation of the DRUJ with an ulnar head fracture reduced by closed reduction. We report the case of a right-handed 35-year-old patient with no medical history who presented to our emergency department after sustaining a fall on his left hand. The trauma dated of 1 day and X-ray was initially judged normal in the emergency department. Due to the persistence of the pain and the functional impotence, the patient presented again to our department. The investigation showed that the patient's hand was in a supine position when the fall occurred. On physical examination, the forearm was locked in supination, with no passive or active pronation elicited. There was a loss of the dorsal ulnar prominence with a palpable deformity on the volar aspect of the wrist. There was no skin lesion and the neurovascular status of the hand was normal. Initial radiographs were made. Anteroposterior and lateral radiographs of the forearm and wrist showed a volar dislocation of the DRUJ with an associated ulnar head fracture. A closed reduction attempt in the emergency department was unsuccessful. The patient was admitted and under general anesthesia, the dislocation was reduced by pronating the forearm and applying direct pressure over the distal ulna. The wrist was tested after the reduction and the DRUJ was stable. Above-elbow cast was applied in a pronation position for a period of 5 weeks. Upon cast removal, the result was excellent. The patient regained full range of motion of the wrist and elbow, there was no instability nor pain or tenderness. Grip force was conserved. A radiographic assessment confirmed the reduction. Volar locked dislocation of DRUJ is a rare injury. A high index of clinical suspicion and proper X-ray is required for prompt detection. Computed tomography scanning can be useful if the diagnosis is not certain. If the reduction of the joint is stable, there is no need for fixation. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are the keys for a good outcome.


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