The scaphoid bone, one of the carpal bones of the wrist, is located at the base of the thumb. Along with the distal radial fracture the scaphoid is a common site and often referred to as a broken wrist. The size and location of the scaphoid make it susceptible to injuries and breaks when it is placed under extreme pressure, often times that pressure presents itself when a person attempts to break their fall using outstretched hands, particularly trying to break your fall with your palms. Scaphoid fractures affect all age groups with a preponderance of injuries occurring during athletic activities.
Symptoms of a scaphoid fracture include pain and swelling at the base of the thumb, and tenderness of the affected area. Often misdiagnosed by the patient themselves, a scaphoid fracture in many cases is thought to be a sprained wrist. Though if the pain doesn’t subside dramatically after a day, have a doctor or emergency room physician check the area, you may have incurred a scaphoid fracture.
Scaphoid Fracture Treatment
Diagnosed by X-ray, it isn’t uncommon for the fracture to be difficult or impossible to see during the initial X-rays, and when this occurs, the area of the wrist is generally immobilized for one to two weeks before another set of X-rays are taken. When the break is visible on the X-ray, your doctor will judge depending on which part of the bone fractured, your age, overall health, and general daily activity the type of cast you would need or if surgery was necessary.
After the cast is removed or when your operation is complete, you would be expected to wear a wrist brace support for up to six months and refrain from lifting heavy objects, participating in contact sports, climbing ladders, and avoid participating in any activity that increases your risk of another fall. Throughout your recovery, your doctor will expect you to maintain full motion in your fingers and it’s possible that your doctor will prescribe a series of exercises for you to complete on your own or in conjunction with physical therapy. Most individuals resume their previous range of motion, but it is important for you to realize that some do not. While the exercises and the wrist support will aid in your healing, it is up to each patient to take preventative measures to keep from re-injuring their hand during this important process of recovery.