A scaphoid fracture is a common injury to the carpal bones. The management for this fracture is a cast, especially for non-displaced cases. Nevertheless, the healing might take some time and oftentimes, the bone will not fully heal. Due to this, the treatment for the fracture might vary and oftentimes require surgery.
What are the signs of injury?
The indications of a scaphoid fracture include:
- Wrist pain, usually on the thumb side of the wrist
- Difficulty holding objects
- Evident inflammation and bruising at the base of the thumb
A diagnosis is difficult since an X-ray taken after the injury will not reveal any irregularities if the bone is not out of alignment.
A scaphoid fracture that is not displaced might only be detected in the X-ray result after healing has started, which might be 1-2 weeks after the injury.
Management of a scaphoid fracture
There are 2 methods in managing a scaphoid fracture:
- Cast immobilization
- Surgical stabilization
If the scaphoid fracture is not displaced, a cast is a suitable treatment option. The cast must cover the thumb to limit its mobility. The doctor will continue to monitor the wrist by assessment and X-ray to ensure that the bone is healing, which usually takes 10-12 weeks.
In case there is displacement, there is a risk for nonunion and the doctor will suggest surgery to reposition the bones and secure in the right alignment. The surgery generally involves the placement of screws to secure the bone in the correct position.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on a scaphoid fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the indications and how it is managed, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.