It is important to note that the scaphoid is one of the smallest bones in the wrist and prone to injuries. The scaphoid is positioned on the thumb side of the wrist in the area where bending of the wrist occurs. This injury is easily identified when the thumb is held in a hitch-hiking position. Remember that the scaphoid is situated at the base of the hollow created by the thumb tendons. Tenderness or pain in this area can indicate that the scaphoid is damaged.
What are the possible causes?
A scaphoid wrist fracture is typically caused by falling on an extended hand with the weight landing on the palm. The end of one of the forearm bones can also break during this type of fall depending on the position of the hand during the landing.
Cases of scaphoid wrist fractures tend to occur among individuals of all ages, including children. The injury often occurs during sports or vehicular accidents. Men between 20-30 years old are likely to experience this type of injury.
Remember that there are no specific risks or diseases that can increase the risk for this type of fracture. In studies conducted, it revealed that the use of wrist guards during certain activities can reduce the risk of bone injuries around the wrist.
What are the symptoms?
Scaphoid wrist fractures typically cause swelling and pain in the base of the thumb. The pain can be intense when moving the wrist or thumb or when attempting to hold an object.
Unless the wrist is misshapen, it might not be apparent that the scaphoid bone is damaged. In some circumstances, the pain is not intense and can be mistaken as a sprain. Any pain on the wrist that persists for more than a day after the injury might indicate a fracture, thus it is best to consult a doctor. To learn to manage pain from this type of fracture, enroll in a first aid class in a credible provider near you.
The treatment of scaphoid wrist fractures will depend on the location of the break in the bone.
Fractures close to the thumb typically heal in just a matter of weeks as long as proper protection is provided. Remember that this part of the bone has a good supply of blood which is required for healing. The doctor will place the arm and hand in a cast which is usually below the elbow and may or may not include the thumb. The time span for healing varies from one individual to another. The doctor will monitor the healing with regular X-rays or CT scan.
Fractures close to the forearm tend to heal at a slower rate since these areas do not have a good blood supply. The doctor will manage this type of fracture using a cast that might include the thumb. It can extend above the elbow as well.