A cross-sectional reliability study was conducted with 23 normal participants to establish normal values, and the repeatability and validity of distal radioulnar joint translation measurements using ultrasound imaging. Static transverse images of maximal supination, neutral and maximal pronation were examined to assess translation, using a method consistent with the rheumatoid arthritis subluxation ratio. Translation while gripping a 1 kg weight in supinated and pronated positions was then compared with non-gripping translation. There was significantly more ulnar radial translation found with pronation than supination, when compared with neutral. Gripping in pronation did not produce statistically significant changes in translation, whereas the changes produced by gripping in supination were significant. Internal consistency was deemed very high and the rheumatoid arthritis subluxation ratio values measured using ultrasound imaging were consistent with previously documented values measured by computerized tomography. This study demonstrated that translational movement of the distal radioulnar joint can be reliably detected in healthy participants using ultrasound imaging. This may reduce dependency on other imaging modalities to diagnose distal radioulnar joint instability.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2.