Anatomic Forms of Male and Female Carpometacarpal Joints

  • G. A. Ateshian
  • M. P. Rosenwasser
  • V. C. Mow
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 256)


The thumb carpometacarpal joint (CMC) is commonly afflicted with osteoarthrosis (OA), which is predominant in the female population over 45.6 A common hypothesis attributes the prevalence of the development of this disease to the particular saddle-shaped anatomy of the articular surfaces of the CMC joint from female subjects. In early studies, MacConaill8 postulated that the saddle configuration of the CMC joint is the most efficient for providing conjunct rotation during circumduction of the thumb, while Napier9 described joint anatomy and congruence of the joint, and the stabilizing role of capsular ligaments. More recently, Smith and Kuczynski11 classified the various shapes of the trapezium as sellar, triangular, ovoid and semi-cylindrical, and they noted that some of these CMC articular surface shapes predispose to, or accompany, OA changes. North and Rutledge10 also found that the trapezium tended to be flatter in joints with early OA changes, and that CMC joints from female subjects had shallower surfaces than those from male subjects. Based on the work of Huiskes and co-workers,5 we developed a close-range stereophotogrammetric (SPG) method to accurately quantify the anatomy of knee joint articular surfaces.3 In the present investigation, we adopted our SPG method for a detailed anatomic study of the thumb carpometacarpal joint. Furthermore, using fundamental principles of differential geometry, each SPG determined 3-D surface was characterized by calculating its total surface area and principal curvatures.


Articular Surface Principal Curvature Carpometacarpal Joint Joint Anatomy Female Joint 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. Ateshian
    • 1
  • M. P. Rosenwasser
    • 1
  • V. C. Mow
    • 1
  1. 1.Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Orthopaedic SurgeryColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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