Conditions General

What Is Kienbock’s Disease?

There are numerous different diseases and problems that can affect the hand specifically. In the case of Kienbocks disease, one of the small bones in the wrist is effected specifically. This bone is called the lunate and it is closer to the fingers than the forearm.

Kienbocks disease occurs when the lunate bone goes without the blood supply it needs.

There is no specific cause to the disease, and there are a number of different factors that can lead to it, including: the arteries, the bones themselves, and the veins that take blood away. If any one of these things is not quite right, it can cause this disease to develop. Many times, people with certain conditions are more prone to the disease. These conditions associated with Kienbocks disease include sickle cell anemia, cerebral palsy, and gout.

Sometimes, certain types of trauma and injury can also lead to a lack of blood supply to the bone. Certain occupations put it at risk especially.

Diagnosing the Disease

The most common symptom of Kienbocks disease is pain in the wrist that continues over an extended period of time. Additionally, you will feel tenderness when touched right where the lunate bone is situated. Generally, the disease is diagnosed through a combination of a physical exam and x0rays. Sometimes MRIs, CT scans, and bones scans are used to pinpoint the disease.

It is impossible to determine how the disease will progress. Some people may experience the same level of discomfort for a very long time. However, x-rays will be used to track progression. Over time, if the disease is not treated, then fractures will occur throughout the lunate bone. Eventually, it will completely collapse and change the way the wrist works altogether. If not treated, then Kienbocks disease can be debilitating.


Treatment of the disease will be determined based on the severity of the condition. Sometimes, the disease will simply be tracked and observed. Other times, the hand may be immobilized with a splint. Some more serious treatments include:

  • Surgery to fuse the bones
  • Hand therapy to ease pain and restore hand functionality
  • Hand surgery to lengthen or strengthen the bone

There is no one specific treatment for this condition and your doctor will decide what to do strictly based on your condition and how the disease will progress. Since there is no sure way to determine progression either, then the condition will need to be closely observed. Otherwise, it may progress quicker than expected and cause serious problems much sooner. If Kienbocks has progressed to severity, then surgery will have to be considered in order to save the bone.

If you have wrist pain, then you should visit a doctor as soon as possible to determine whether or not you have Kienbocks disease. There are other conditions that could result in wrist pain as well. So, make sure you get diagnosed. If you have the disease, then you will need to discuss your options with your doctor and determine how it will be handled going forward.