Kienbock’s Disease

It started with a fall in August 2015. I was in my local Capoeira class where I was hanging from an overhead bar when while trying to grab on to it I slipped. I instinctively pushed out my right hand and landed vertically with my wrist bearing the entire 70 kilograms of my body weight. It pained quite a bit and for a few days I could not do anything that would put too much of strain on my right hand. It got better, but the pain remained and every time I did a handstand, sharp jolts of pain would draw my attention to my stiff and aching wrist. Overtime, I realized that the condition of my wrist became worse as I could subject it to less and less pressure. And not just my right. I began to feel that even my left wrist was a little weakened over the past few months.

On the 9th of March, 2016, I decided that enough was enough and I am going to go see an orthopedist. I am a lazy person by nature, but when I perceive a threat, I either address it immediately or I overreact to it. Fortunately, I decided to address the issue prudently.

The doctor at the hospital checked my hand and asked me to get an X Ray. I was determined to find out what was up with my wrist and so I got the X Ray within an hour. What showed up on the doctor’s screen was an image of my hand’s skeleton. It was a little freaky to see my hand from such a perspective. The doctor, after addressing another patient took a look at the X Ray.

‘Well Devansh, the good news is that you do not seem to have any injury to your bone’, he said. I was almost smiling. My over analyzing mind was like: ‘I knew it. Its gotta be an injury to the muscular structure in my arm!’. ‘However’, continued the doctor, ‘the bad news is that you have what is called Kienbock’s Diesease’.

When the doctor said this I literally took a few seconds to fully take in what he had said. I could feel my world getting smaller and smaller. A disease, I thought. I have  bone disease.

Then he explained to me what it is.

Kienbock’s disease is a bone condition that is extremely rare. First discovered by Dr. Robert Kienbock in 1910, it is essentially a condition where the lunate bone, a carpal bone in the wrist, begins to disintegrate. Now this is a pretty severe thing. Eventually, the entire carpal structure of the hand begins to disintegrate, and if you think it is painless, think again. It causes arthritis in the hand. If not treated immediately upon diagnosis or if the diagnosis is late, the carpals have to be removed to ease the pain of the victim. This means that your hand is rendered pretty much useless. You might as well cut it off and get a cool bio mechanical structure.

There are several factor which could lead to Kienbock’s disease. My case was aggravated by my fall I had mentioned earlier. That likely caused trauma to my lunate and thus interrupted the blood supply to it. The bone also is a tissue and needs blood. Lack of blood causes necrosis of the bone. It becomes weak and begins to fragment. The doctor explained to me that my radius is longer than the ulna. Lost me? The hand has two major bones, the radius and the ulna. In a normal hand, the lunate slides comfortably above and along the ulna and the radius. When either one of these is longer, the lunate begins to grind against it when the wrist is perpendicular to the hand, like while doing push ups and handstands. That’s a pretty fucked up condition, right?

By this time, I was almost not breathing. ‘Fuck’ was going off in my mind like a siren. ‘What can we do about it?’, I squeaked. ‘It is treatable right?’

‘Of course it is!’, said the charismatic doctor. ‘We will need to perform a surgery called radial osteotomy in which we will reduce the size of the wrist bone by cutting of about 2 millimeters and leveling it with the ulna’.

That was all I needed to hear. I saw a ray of hope as he said it is possible to get it treated completely.

P.S- I’ll post pictures of my X Ray with the continuing post.


Have a great week ahead!




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