What is Madelung’s Deformity?

Madelung’s deformity

is an abnormality of the wrist. In this condition, the wrist bones are not formed properly causing a malformation of wrists. This malformation of the wrists is the resultant of a genetic disorder associated with the



(short stature homeobox) gene.

Madelung’s disease


is also referred to as

manus valgus, radius curvus, manus furca, carpus curvus

progressive subluxation of the wrist


or .

The Pathogenesis of Madelung’s Deformity:

The primary reason for the malformation of wrist bones and the wrist is because of the growth disturbance in the growth plate in the radius bone of the forearm. Due to this disturbance, the radius begins to grow in a curved direction.

  • Along with the radius, there is another long bone in the forearm known as the ulna. The growth of this bone is normal and is not affected. Due to this, while the radius begins to curve, the ulna grows in a straight line.
  • Eventually, the ulna remains long and the radius becomes short.
  • Mostly adolescent females are known to suffer from this problem the most.

Categories and Types of Madelung’s Deformity:

This deformity of the wrist is classified into four categories and two types.

The categories of the deformity are-

  • Post-traumatic
  • Dysplastic
  • Chromosomal
  • Idiopathic

The types of the deformity are-

  • Regular or Typical
  • Reverse or Atypical

As a matter of fact, what actually causes a disturbance in the growth plate that leads to the malformed wrist is still unknown.

Features of the Deformity:

As mentioned above, this deformity of the wrist is mostly observed in girls (between 8-12 years) than in boys.

  • The symptoms of the deformity include limited wrist motion and severe pain on the inside of the wrist.
  • In some, the symptoms might not exist. While in some, they may tend to decrease with rest.
  • In some, the pain may get worse over time as the deformity progresses.
  • Wrist weakness would also be observed as the deformity progresses.

Madelung’s deformity

can be treated by performing a surgery on the ligaments of the ulna and the radius bones.

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