One of the most common fractures of the upper extremity is a scaphoid fracture. Eight small bones called carpal bones, each the size of small rocks or pebbles and with their own distinctive shape, make up the wrist. Although each of them are susceptible to injury or fracture, the scaphoid bone is the one most associated with hand or wrist injury.
Located between the thumb and the bones of the forearm, the scaphoid bone is commonly fractured as a result of a fall onto an outstretched hand and wrist that subjects the area to great force. Pain from a scaphoid fracture will be noted along the thumb side of the hand and wrist, and range of motion in the wrist may be reduced.
Because of the unique blood supply to this bone, an X-ray examination may not reveal a fracture. It is common for a physician to repeat an X-ray several days following an injury where the scaphoid may be involved.
Depending on the severity of the injury, your physician can prescribe several treatments. For less severe injuries, prolonged casting of the thumb and wrist may be prescribed followed by hand rehabilitation. Therapy can help to increase range of motion and strength in the wrist to help the patient have a normal return to their daily activities.
In more severe cases, surgery may be required. Advanced techniques may involve the insertion of small pins and screws into the fractured bone, which can enable a quicker transition into hand therapy.
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