PURPOSE: to compare a motion preserving procedure of the wrist with the wrist arthrodesis, the so-called gold standard in patients with posttraumatic wristpain. DESIGN: non randomized retrospective SETTING: University Hospital--referral centre PATIENTS: we studied two groups of patients with posttraumatic wrist pain due to osteoarthritis of the radiocarpal joint: one group of 35 patients underwent a radiocarpometacarpal arthrodesis, the other group of 26 patients a proximal row carpectomy (PRC). There were no significant differences in age and gender or hand dominance distribution. INTERVENTION: proximal row carpectomy versus radiocarpal arthrodesis. OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: DASH (disability of arm, shoulder and hand) gripping force, return to activity, complications and reintervention frequence. RESULTS: Disability (DASH score) and regaining professional activity was significantly better in the PRC group. There was no significant difference in gripping force between the PRC and the arthrodesis group. Complications were less numerous. CONCLUSION: A mobility saving procedure as a PRC is preferable over an arthrodesis in patients with posttraumatic wrist osteoarthritis.