The anterior oblique ligament (AOL) and the dorsoradial ligament (DRL) are both regarded as mechanical stabilizers of the thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) joint, which in older women is often affected by osteoarthritis. Inferences on the potential relationship of these ligaments to joint pathomechanics are based on clinical experience and studies of cadaveric tissue, but their functions has been studied sparsely in vivo. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the functions of the AOL and DRL using in vivo joint kinematics data. The thumbs of 44 healthy subjects were imaged with a clinical computed tomography scanner in functional-task and thumb range-of-motion positions. The origins and insertion sites of the AOL and the DRL were identified on the three-dimensional bone models and each ligament was modeled as a set of three fibers whose lengths were the minimum distances between insertion sites. Ligament recruitment, which represented ligament length as a percentage of the maximum length across the scanned positions, was computed for each position and related to joint posture. Mean AOL recruitment was lower than 91% across the CMC range of motion, whereas mean DRL recruitment was generally higher than 91% in abduction and flexion. Under the assumption that ligaments do not strain by more than 10% physiologically, our findings of mean ligament recruitments across the CMC range of motion indicate that the AOL is likely slack during most physiological positions, whereas the DRL may be taut and therefore support the joint in positions of CMC joint abduction and flexion.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.04.028
View details for Web of Science ID 000358459800029