Scapholunate Ballottement Test

Learn how to conduct the Scapholunate Ballottement Test, interpret the results, and apply findings with our comprehensive guide and free template.

By Telita Montales on Jul 15, 2024.

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Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What are scapholunate ligament injuries?

Scapholunate ligament injuries involve damage to the ligament connecting the scaphoid and lunate bones in the wrist. This ligament is crucial for maintaining proper motion and stability in the wrist joint. Injuries can lead to instability, chronic wrist pain, and a reduced range of wrist motion.

Common symptoms

Symptoms of scapholunate ligament injuries can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. Some common symptoms include:

  • Persistent wrist pain
  • Swelling around the wrist
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Sensation of wrist giving way during use

Common causes

Scapholunate ligament injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Traumatic injuries such as falls or direct blows to the wrist
  • Repetitive stress leads to wear and tear
  • Degenerative joint changes

Scapholunate Ballottement Test Template

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Scapholunate Ballottement Test Example

Download Example PDF

What is the Scapholunate Ballottement Test?

The Scapholunate Ballottement Test is a physical examination technique used to diagnose instability in the wrist joint. It specifically tests for instability between the scaphoid and lunate bones, which are two of the eight carpal bones in the wrist.

The test is performed by a healthcare professional, usually an orthopedic specialist or hand therapist. It involves applying pressure to the scaphoid bone and observing its movement in relation to the lunate bone. If there is excessive movement between these two bones, it indicates that there may be ligament damage or other issues causing instability in the wrist joint.

How to use our Scapholunate Ballottement Test template

Our template guides clinicians through the step-by-step process of conducting the Scapholunate Ballottement Test. It provides sections documenting patient details, test findings, and clinical observations critical for diagnosis and subsequent management plans.

  1. Document patient information: The template includes sections to enter patient details such as name, age, medical history, and specific symptoms of the wrist injury. This initial information sets the stage for a focused examination.
  2. Conduct the test: Follow the structured steps outlined in the template to perform the Scapholunate Ballottement Test. This includes positioning the patient’s wrist, applying pressure to assess for gapping or instability between the scaphoid and lunate, and observing any signs of discomfort or pain.
  3. Record findings: Document the test results using the designated areas in the template. Note any positive indicators of ligament injury, such as noticeable gapping or pain elicited during pressure application.
  4. Plan subsequent management: Based on the findings, outline the next steps in the patient's management plan. This could involve recommendations for further diagnostic imaging, referral to a specialist, or immediate treatment options.
What is the difference between the Scapholunate Ballottement Test and the Scaphoid Shift Test?
What is the difference between the Scapholunate Ballottement Test and the Scaphoid Shift Test?

Commonly asked questions

What is the difference between the Scapholunate Ballottement Test and the Scaphoid Shift Test?

The Scapholunate Ballottement Test assesses the integrity of the scapholunate ligament by applying direct pressure to detect instability. At the same time, the Scaphoid Shift Test, or Watson's test, is used to identify any shift or subluxation of the scaphoid under stress, which may or may not involve physical examination of the scapholunate ligament directly.

How is a distal radius fracture related to scapholunate ligament injuries?

A distal radius fracture often occurs near the wrist joint and can impact surrounding structures, including the scapholunate interosseous ligament. Due to the proximity, position, and interconnectedness of these anatomical features, such fractures may cause or exacerbate instability in the scaphoid and lunate bones.

How do radial deviation and clinical provocative tests help diagnose scapholunate ligament injuries?

Radial deviation involves moving the wrist towards the thumb side, which can stretch the scapholunate interosseous ligament and make any existing injuries more apparent. Clinical provocative tests, such as the Scapholunate Ballottement Test, use radial deviation and direct pressure applied by the thumb and index finger on the scaphoid bone to assess the integrity of the ligament.

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