Lister's tubercle Anatomy, Location, Function, Fracture & Pain

The dorsal tubercle of the radius, also known as Lister's tubercle, serves as a landmark during wrist arthroscopy, wrist joint injections, and other related surgical and therapeutic procedures. The anatomical placement of Lister's tubercle has some clinical significance in addition to serving as a surgical anatomic landmark. As an example, during volar plate repair for distal radius fractures, the screws may damage the extensor pollicis longus (EPL) tendon that is located in the groove medial to the dorsal tubercle if they are put in an inappropriate orientation and length. Over time, this can rupture EPL tendons.

What is Lister's tubercle?

Lister's tubercle is a bony protrusion on the distal radius' posterior side. It aids in the stabilization and mobility of the wrist joint by acting as an attachment point for many tendons and ligaments. Lister's tubercle is positioned just proximally of the styloid process of the radius and distally of the sigmoid notch. It is important anatomically because of its role in wrist joint function.

Lister's tubercle Anatomy

The distal radius's dorsal prominence plays a significant role in the formation of Lister's tubercle. It is located distant from the palm on the back of the radius bone. When pressure is given to the wrist's back, the tubercle itself can be felt as a little, perceptible bump. Individual differences in size and shape may exist, but it typically protrudes just enough to allow ligaments and tendons to adhere firmly.

Lister's tubercle Anatomy, Location, Function, Fracture & Pain

Lister's tubercle Function

For the wrist joint to remain stable and functional, Lister's tubercle is an essential component. This bony prominence is supported by a number of ligaments and tendons, including the extensor pollicis longus tendon and the abductor pollicis longus tendon. These tendons support the thumb's extension and abduction motions, facilitating crucial actions like handling delicate jobs and grasping stuff.

In addition, Lister's tubercle functions as a pulley, rerouting the forces of the tendons and maintaining ideal joint movement. By preventing the extensor tendons from bowstringing during wrist extension, it improves performance and lowers the chance of tendon damage. Thus, Lister's tubercle plays a major role in the wrist's general stability and functionality.

Lister's tubercle Pain & Fracture

Lister's tubercle fractures generally result from direct trauma or excessive force being applied to the wrist joint. Here are a few examples of frequent fracture types:

Avulsion Fracture

This form of fracture is characterized by the separation of a small bone fragment at the ligament or tendon attachment point. Lister's tubercle avulsion fractures can happen if the extensor tendons are suddenly under tension.

Impaction Fracture

Impact fractures are caused by excessive compressive forces that cause the bone to buckle or disintegrate, resulting in a fracture.

Stress Fracture

Lister's tubercle stress fractures can result from excessive wrist joint use or repetitive stress. This kind of fracture is more common in people who engage in repetitive wrist-related activities and athletes.

Pain, swelling, discomfort, a restricted range of motion, and trouble gripping objects are just a few of the symptoms that can result from a fracture affecting Lister's tubercle. It is essential to see a doctor for a precise diagnosis if you believe you may have a fracture in this region.

Lister's tubercle Anatomy, Location, Function, Fracture & Pain Lister's tubercle Anatomy, Location, Function, Fracture & Pain Reviewed by Simon Albert on May 29, 2023 Rating: 5
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