Wrist injuries are common in gymnasts. Wrist injury during adolescence can result in damage to the distal radial epiphyseal plate. Premature closure of the plate can result in an acquired Madelung deformity.


Synonym: gymnast wrist


Features of the acquired Madelung deformity:

(1) Damage to the distal radial growth plate causes premature closure.

(2) The distal radius becomes deformed with an increased sagittal angle.

(3) The ulnar usually continues to grow resulting in positive ulnar variance.

(4) An X-ray may show a radial bow deformity (resembles bow legs)

(5) The carpus becomes wedged between the distal radius and ulna.


The injury is caused by repeated and excessive loading on the wrist.


Risk factors for occurrence:

(1) heavier body weight

(2) taller height

(3) greater muscularity

(4) more years of gymnastic training


Clinical findings:

(1) wrist pain

(2) loss of forearm rotation

(3) impaired wrist and hand function (disability)


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