Scaphoid Fracture: Hit the Slopes with These 3 Tips!

Snowboarding Scaphoid Fracture

Scaphoid Fractures and Extreme Sports

Falls are extremely common for skiers, skaters and snowboarders. The most common injury in these extreme sports is the Scaphoid Fracture. When a person falls, the normal reaction is to put their hands out to break their fall. This often leads to injuring the scaphoid bone.  This is a small bone in the wrist on the thumb side. There have been cases where an extreme sportsman has broken the scaphoid bones in both wrists from a bad fall.

Three important tips for dealing with a fracture of the scaphoid bone are treatment, physical therapy and prevention of future fractures.

Treatment

Immobilization is most often used for simple fractures of the wrist by way of a cast.

  • As scaphoid fractures take an extremely long time to heal. Iimmobilization can last between ten and twelve weeks.
  • Orthopedic specialists most often use immobilization for simple fractures where the bone is still in place or non-displaced.
  • X-rays are repeated throughout the healing process to keep an eye on the bone as it heals.
  • If the fracture is considered displaced where the bones are separated, there is a greater risk of the bone not healing properly. In this situation, surgery would be considered.  This would be to  realign the bones or place screws in the bones to hold them in place.
  • Allowing the bones time to heal is one of the important steps toward proper healing.

Rehabilitation

After the bones and muscles have had enough time to heal from scaphoid fracture, physical therapy is the next step. The two main types of physical therapy used are:

  • Strengthening exercises – For strengthening, light weights are used in combination with bending and flexing of the wrist.
  • Range of motion exercises – Often this involves the use of a small squeezable ball that is squeezed repetitively to increase grip.
  • The orthopedic specialist will most often make a referral to a physical therapist.  There the patient will learn how to properly do these exercises at home.  This would occur after the healing from immobilization or surgery is complete.

 

Prevention

Prevention is the third focus when dealing with scaphoid fractures.

  • Re-occurrence of this injury is frequent.  Sports advocates will often return to the same beloved sport that caused the injury.
  • The number one way to prevent re-injuring the scaphoid bone or any other bone in the wrist is to wear protective wrist guards.
  • Risk to re-injuring the wrists can be cut dramatically by wearing these simple devices.

Falling is the number one cause of injury among skaters, snowboarders and skiers. A Scaphoid fracture is one of the most common injuries affecting those that participate in these kinds of sports. By following these three basic tips, one can properly heal and hit the slopes again without risk of re-injury.

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