The wrist joint, also known as the radiocarpal joint, is where the radius bone of the forearm meets the carpal bones of the hand. It is a complex joint that allows for a wide range of movements in the hand and wrist. Here is a brief overview of the anatomy and functions of the wrist joint:

Anatomy of the wrist

  • The wrist joint is made up of the distal end of the radius bone, the proximal row of carpal bones, and the articular disc, which sits between the radius and the carpal bones.
  • The proximal row of carpal bones includes the scaphoid, lunate, triquetral, and pisiform bones.
  • Ligaments and tendons attach to the bones of the wrist, providing stability and support to the joint.

Functions of the wrist

  • The wrist joint allows for flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and circumduction movements of the hand and wrist.
  • Flexion and extension movements are controlled by the muscles in the forearm, which attach to the bones of the wrist via tendons.
  • Abduction and adduction movements are controlled by the ligaments and tendons that attach the wrist to the forearm and hand.
  • Circumduction movements involve a combination of flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction movements, allowing the hand to move in a circular motion.

Overall, the wrist joint is crucial for performing daily tasks that involve fine motor skills, such as writing, typing, and using tools. It also plays an important role in supporting the weight of the body during activities that involve weight-bearing on the hands, such as yoga, gymnastics, and rock climbing.

The knee joint is comprised of several key structures (1)

When to see an orthopaedic surgeon?

You should consider seeing an orthopedic surgeon for your wrist if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in your wrist that persists even when at rest or when taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Swelling or redness in the wrist.
  • Limited range of motion in your wrist.
  • Weakness in your hand or wrist.
  • Tingling sensation or numbness in your hand or wrist.
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks such as holding objects, typing, or writing.
  • A recent injury to your wrist, such as a fall or impact.

An orthopedic surgeon can help diagnose the cause of your wrist pain and develop a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. They can also provide surgical options if necessary.

When is surgical intervention required?

Surgery for the wrist is typically required when conservative treatments, such as rest, physical therapy, medications, or injections, have failed to alleviate symptoms or when the injury or condition is severe. Here are some common wrist conditions that may require surgery:

Fractures: Severe wrist fractures that cannot be treated with immobilization or casting may require surgery. Surgery may also be necessary if the bone is out of place or if the fracture affects the joint. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome: If conservative treatments fail to alleviate symptoms, surgery may be recommended. Surgery involves cutting the ligament that is pressing on the median nerve to relieve pressure and reduce pain. 

Arthritis: Severe cases of arthritis that cause pain and limited range of motion may require joint replacement surgery. 

Tendon or ligament injuries: Severe injuries to the wrist tendons or ligaments may require surgery to repair or reconstruct the damaged tissue.


Ganglion cysts: Ganglion cysts that are painful, unsightly, or interfere with wrist function may require surgical removal.

It’s important to note that surgery is usually considered a last resort and is only recommended when non-surgical treatments have failed. Our Orthopaedic surgeon will evaluate your condition and discuss the best treatment options with you

The knee joint is comprised of several key structures (1)