Thumb motion and stability were examined after sequential division of support ligaments of the trapeziometacarpal (TMC) to simulate the pathologic condition of ligament laxity. The motion obtained with passive circumduction was measured with a magnetic tracking system. The lengths of the TMC joint ligaments were approximated by measuring the distance between origin and insertion of each ligament. The change in this apparent interorigin distance of the ligaments was measured before and after ligament sectioning. The anterior oblique ligament (AOL) and the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) had the greatest effect on TMC joint stability during circumduction of the thumb. Division of the first intermetacarpal ligament (IML) did not produce a change in apparent length of other ligaments. We conclude that small changes in ligament length affect thumb stability and alter the path of circumduction. Neither the IML or posterior oblique ligaments were major stabilizers of the TMC joint during circumduction, prehensile grasp, or tip pinch. Reconstruction of the AOL and UCL ligaments should be considered for treatment of the initial stages of TMC instability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine