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1 The integrity of the scapholunate ligament in competitive divers
  1. AJ Beck
  1. Centre for Ultrasound, AECC University College, Bournemouth, UK


Aim Wrist pain and injury is common condition in competitive, elite divers. Literature has shown that divers sustain high impacts of force through the wrists on water entry. It is likely this and the repetitive nature of the sport that results in wrist injuries.1 2 No studies have yet looked at the structures injured when divers have wrist pain. This study was conducted to ascertain the demographics of the diving population within the United Kingdom at competitive level and how many of them experienced wrist pain. It was also used to investigate if one of the crucial stabilising ligaments in the wrist was disrupted, the scapholunate ligament (SLL).

Methods Data was collected at the British Diving Championships, 2018. 51 divers were eligible for inclusion and 43 divers took part. Two divers were excluded due to previous wrist surgery. Participants completed a questionnaire on diving career to date and wrist injuries. They then underwent wrist examination using Watson’s test and ultrasound imaging of both SLL.

Results This study found that 78% of divers had disruption of one or both SLL. Of these, 65.9% had disruption of the ligament in the supporting hand rather than the entry hand. No significant difference was found between springboard and platform divers. Those divers who taped were found to reduce ligament disruption by 28 times over those who did not (OR 27.9, 95% CI 3.31 to 234, P=0.002). It was demonstrated that Watson’s test has poor sensitivity and specificity, with reasonable positive predicted value.

Conclusion Springboard and Platform divers at a competitive level are at high risk of SLL disruption. The supporting hand is more at risk than the entry hand. Taping confers a significant reduction in risk of disruption and should be used to prevent injury. Watson’s test is a poor clinical test in diagnosis of SLL disruption.


  1. Harrison S, Cohen R, Cleary P, et al. A coupled biomechanical-smoothed particle hydrodynamics model for predicting the loading on the body during elite platform diving. Appl Math Model 2015;40:3812–31.

  2. Prien A, Mountjoy M, Miller J, et al. Injury and illness in aquatic sport: how high is the risk? A comparison of results from three FINA world championships. Br J Sports Med 2016;51:277–82.

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