A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Bearing the pain: Scaphoid bone fracture (wrist fracture)

girls playing soccer on a fieldScaphoid bone fracture occurs when falling on an outstretched arm.  It is the most common wrist fracture and also a common injury in sports. More often, scaphoid bone fractures occur in younger men.

But the symptoms of scaphoid fracture can be deceiving. Good recovery depends on early diagnosis and treatment.

Many times scaphoid injury is assumed a sprain and medical treatment is not immediately sought. However, as pain continues and symptoms don’t subside, the injured person seeks medical attention.

Common wrist fracture symptoms may include:

  • Pain at the base of the thumb on the wrist when pressed.
  • Pain with forceful extension of the wrist or in a “push up” type action.
  • Pain produced during lifting.

Injury recall helps diagnosis

A wrist X-ray can be helpful in diagnosis, but is not always reliable. Instead, diagnosis of scaphoid fracture is determined by recounting the physical actions leading up to the injury, identifying the location of pain and reviewing X-rays of the injured wrist.

Treatment options for scaphoid fracture vary depending on these considerations:

  • How much time has lapsed between the time of the injury and the diagnosis of the fracture?
  • What is the location of the fracture line?
  • How restricted can the person be during treatment and recovery?

Scaphoid fracture can be treated with short or long arm casts involving the thumb, or surgery.

Good recovery depends most on how quickly treatment is started. Different types of fracture patterns respond better to surgery rather than casting alone. Recovery may take as long as six months.

This post provided by Sports Wrap, from Marshfield Clinic Sports Medicine.  *Post submitted by Steven Taylor, M.D.

Dr. Taylor is a hand surgeon at Marshfield Clinic. He provides diagnosis and treatment for a variety of hand conditions and injuries including hand surgery, tendonitis, arthritis, carpal tunnel and hand and arm rehabilitation. Marshfield Clinic offers orthopedic hand care services at our Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Marshfield, Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids centers.

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