gms | German Medical Science

54. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Handchirurgie

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Handchirurgie

10.10. - 12.10.2013, Düsseldorf

Morphometric analysis of distal interphalangeal joints

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Robert A. Kaufmann - University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Orthopaedic Surgery, Pittsburgh, USA
  • Kraig Graham
  • Robert J. Goitz
  • Johannes Schneppendahl
  • Robert A. Kaufmann

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Handchirurgie. 54. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Handchirurgie. Düsseldorf, 10.-12.10.2013. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2013. Doc13dgh20

doi: 10.3205/13dgh20, urn:nbn:de:0183-13dgh204

Published: October 7, 2013

© 2013 Kaufmann et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: The distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints of the hand are highly susceptible to osteoarthritis and trauma. Surgical treatment options mandate accurate characterization of their osseous anatomy; however, there are few studies that describe this. We describe the curvatures of the DIP joints by measuring the bone morphology using advanced imaging and modeling methods.

Methods: The fingers of sixteen right hand fresh frozen human cadavers were analyzed. Fingers showing signs of DIP joint arthritis were excluded. The fingers were scanned using Microtomography (MicroCT). Measurements of the bony morphology were made using models created from the MicroCT scans.

Results: In each finger there is no statistically significant difference between the radii of curvature of the ulnar and radial condyles of the middle phalanx head. Conversely, the radius of curvature of the distal phalanx ulnar groove is significantly greater the radial groove. The radii of curvature of the groove of the distal phalanx and the condyles of the middle phalanx displayed nonconformity with disparity increasing from the index to small fingers. Remarkably, the radius of curvature of the distal phalanx central ridge and the mean radius of the middle phalanx condyles are essentially the same.

Conclusion: The purpose of this study is to gain better insight into the DIP joints of the hand and to provide a platform for future investigations. The asymmetry between the grooves of the distal phalanx and the condyles of the middle phalanx suggest there may be a translational component to DIP joint motion. Our understanding of morphology may lend insight into the biomechanics and disease progression within the DIP joints.

The present study clearly indicates that there are morphological findings that are consistent across all specimens studied. This knowledge of DIP joint anatomy may be of significant importance during surgical procedures and in joint arthroplasty design.