Kienbock’s disease, also known as avascular necrosis of the lunate, is a condition in which the lunate bone, one of eight small bones in the wrist, loses its blood supply, leading to death of the bone. The lunate is a central bone in the wrist that is important for proper movement and support of the joint (Figure 1). It works closely with the two forearm bones (radius and ulna) to help the wrist move.
Damage to the lunate can lead to pain, stiffness, and sometimes arthritis of the wrist if some time has passed. Kienbock’s disease is most common in men between the ages of 20 and 40 and rarely affects both wrists.