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Pisiform fractures

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


While upper extremity fractures are among the most common, and carpal fractures account for approximately 18 percent of hand and wrist fractures and 6 percent of all fractures [1], pisiform fractures account for a relatively small number.

This topic reviews fractures of the pisiform in adults. 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".)


Of the carpal fractures, injuries to the proximal row are most frequent. However, fractures of the pisiform bone occur less often than fractures of the scaphoid, lunate, or triquetrum, and account for only one to three percent of osseous injuries involving the carpal bones [2,3]. The estimated incidence of pisiform fractures ranges from 1 in 100 to 1 in 460 of all carpal fractures [4]. They may occur in isolation [5], or be concomitant with other wrist injuries, especially distal radial fractures [6].


The pisiform is a sesamoid bone contained within the flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU) tendon (image 1). Ossification occurs between 7 and 10 years of age, and is complete by age 12. It is the last carpus to completely ossify. Segmentation may be present before age 12 and should not be confused with fracture [4].

The pisiform is easily palpable on the volar surface of the wrist directly proximal to the fifth (little finger) metacarpal at the distal wrist crease. Ligamentous attachments travel from the pisiform to the triquetrum, hamate and fifth metacarpal, while the abductor digiti minimi originates at the pisiform. The pisiform marks the ulnar border of Guyon's canal (figure 1). With pisiform fracture there can be concomitant injury to the ulnar nerve, which traverses the canal.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 13, 2017.
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