What are Scaphoid Fractures?

29 August 2017

Unlike certain wrist injuries, scaphoid fractures are common for people of all ages and can occur during virtually any activity. While not particularly dangerous, this type of fracture is sometimes difficult to recognise and treat properly, which can lead to further complications and even surgery.

Here at WristSupports.co.uk, we have prepared a short guide that will help you recognise a scaphoid fracture in time and find the right treatment for your condition.

Where is the Scaphoid Located?

There are eight carpal bones located in your hand and wrist, with the scaphoid being the one most prone to fractures and injury. It is located on the thumb side of the wrist, just above the radius, and plays a crucial role in maintaining the stability of your wrist.

Scaphoid Fracture

How Does a Scaphoid Fracture Usually Occur?

A scaphoid fracture most often occurs when you fall onto your outstretched hand, which means that your palm is flat and stretched out, while the wrist is bent backward. This type of injury is common for people of all ages, including children. 

There are no specific risk factors or diseases that would make one more prone to sustaining a scaphoid fracture. Studies have shown, however, that using wrist guards during high-intensity activities, such as sports, can decrease the chances of breaking the scaphoid bone.

How Do I Recognise a Scaphoid Fracture?

This type of a fracture is usually easy to recognise, as the pain first occurs right after a fall or a blow to the hand. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain and swelling in the anatomic snuffbox and the thumb side of the wrist
  • Severe pain when you try to pinch or grasp something
  • The pain does not go away within the day of the injury

As the pain may not be too severe, the injury is often mistaken for simple wrist pain and therefore not treated immediately, which can cause complications later on. If you suspect you may have suffered a scaphoid fracture, seek medical attention right away to get a proper diagnosis.

Scaphoid Fracture

Treatment Options

There are different treatments available and selecting the right one depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The location of the break of the scaphoid bone
  • Whether or not the bone fragments are displaced
  • The time passed from the injury

The most common non-surgical treatment of the fracture is putting the arm in a cast, usually a plaster cast, for six to eight weeks. If the bone fragments are displaced, surgery is usually the only option.


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