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Trapezoid fractures

Kevin deWeber, MD, FAAFP, FACSM
Section Editors
Patrice Eiff, MD
Chad A Asplund, MD, FACSM, MPH
Deputy Editor
Jonathan Grayzel, MD, FAAEM


This topic reviews issues related to fractures of the trapezoid. General overviews of wrist pain and carpal fractures, as well as topics devoted to other specific carpal fractures in adults, are presented separately. (See "Evaluation of the adult with acute wrist pain" and "Evaluation of the adult with subacute or chronic wrist pain" and "Overview of carpal fractures" and "Scaphoid fractures" and "Hamate fractures" and "Lunate fractures and perilunate injuries" and "Capitate fractures" and "Pisiform fractures" and "Triquetrum fractures" and "Trapezium fractures".)


Hand fractures are among the most common of the extremity injuries, accounting for approximately 18 percent of all fractures. Carpal bone fractures comprise upwards of 8 percent of hand fractures [1]. Fractures to bones of the distal carpal row, consisting of the trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, and hamate, are less frequent than fractures of bones in the proximal row (scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, and pisiform).

The trapezoid is the carpal bone least often fractured, comprising approximately 2 percent of all carpal fractures [1-4]. Trapezoid fractures usually occur in association with other injuries, most commonly fracture of the hamate, capitate, trapezium, or metacarpals [5]. (See 'Differential diagnosis' below.)


Anatomy of particular relevance to trapezoid fractures is discussed below. A detailed discussion of wrist anatomy is provided separately. (See "Anatomy and basic biomechanics of the wrist".)

The location and shape of the trapezoid convey relative protection, hence the rarity of isolated injury. The trapezoid lies in the distal carpal row and articulates distally with the second metacarpal base, radially with the trapezium, ulnarly with the capitate, and proximally with the scaphoid (image 1 and figure 1 and figure 2). It is keystone shaped, with a dorsal width twice its palmar width. It forms a stable and relatively immobile articulation with the second metacarpal and has strong ligamentous attachments to adjacent carpal bones.

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 25, 2016.
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