Radial/Ulnar Deviation

Last Updated: July 15, 2018

Definition - What does Radial/Ulnar Deviation mean?

Radial/ulnar deviation refers to the movement of the wrist from side to side. These movements flex the hand toward either the radial or ulnar bone in the arm. The action is a flexion movement reducing the angle of the joint of the wrist and the respective bone of the arm. Work duties that require repetitive radial/ulnar deviation, particularly under pressure, increase the risk of work related injury. Radial/ulnar deviation is also called radial/ulnar flexion or abduction/adduction of the wrist.

WorkplaceTesting explains Radial/Ulnar Deviation

Radial/ulnar deviation are anatomical terms of motion that describe the movement of the wrist joint. Radial deviation or flexion is a movement that brings the thumb closer to the radial bone of the forearm. Ulnar deviation or flexion draws the little finger closer to the ulnar bone, or outside of the forearm. Radial/ulnar deviation takes place in the frontal plane along the anteroposterior axis, in contrast to wrist flexion which takes place in the sagittal plane along the frontal axis.

The term ulnar deviation is sometimes used to describe a condition in which the hand is turned toward the ulnar side due to deformity, reducing the angle between the little finger and the arm. This condition is also called ulnar drift.

In addition to ulnar drift, repetitive use, trauma, or chronic conditions such as arthritis can cause musculoskeletal damage to the wrist and hand; imparing radial/ulnar deviation.

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