While attrition from sharp bony surfaces is the most common cause of extensor digiti minimi (EDM) tendon rupture, the etiology of other cases of spontaneous EDM tendon rupture is still unknown. Friction within the compartment may play a role, especially with ulna dislocation. The purpose of this study was to compare gliding resistance of the EDM tendon with that of a tendon which rarely ruptures spontaneously, the extensor digitorum communis of the middle finger (EDC III) tendon, under various wrist and ulna head positions. Eight fresh frozen cadavers were used. Gliding resistance between the tendon and its sheath in each compartment was measured in five different wrist positions and three different ulna head positions. Gliding resistance of the EDM tendon (0.13 ± 0.03 N) was significantly greater than the EDC III tendon (0.09 ± 0.03 N) (p < 0.05). For the EDM tendon, the gliding resistance in ulnar deviation or pronation was higher than the gliding resistance in neutral, radial deviation, or supination (p < 0.05), and the gliding resistance with uinar lengthening (over 6 mm) or dorsal ulnar dislocation (over 9 mm) was higher than in neutral ulnar head positioning. For the EDC III tendon, the gliding resistance in ulnar deviation was significantly higher than the gliding resistance in neutral, radial deviation, or supination, or dorsal dislocation with ulnar lengthening (p < 0.05). Wrist ulnar deviation, ulnar dorsal dislocation (over 9 mm), and ulnar lengthening (over 6 mm) increased the gliding resistance of the EDM tendon. In patients at risk for EDM rupture, such as those with rheumatoid arthritis or distal radioulnar joint osteoarthritis, avoiding such positions may be advantageous.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine