Scaphoid fractures most commonly occur when a significant load is placed on the extended wrist, such as falling on an outstretched hand. This force can cause bruising, cracks, and breaks into two or more pieces. Scaphoid fractures are often seen in patients who experience car and bike accidents where a forceful blow occurs at the wrist.
Symptoms of scaphoid fractures can include pain, tenderness, bruising, swelling on the thumb side of the wrist, and a reduction in motion. Painful crunching, popping, or a shifting sensation may occur if the fracture is displaced.
Scaphoid fractures are usually diagnosed by an x-ray of the wrist. Some non-displaced scaphoid fractures are not visible on x-rays until weeks after the injury, so x-rays may need to be repeated. In some instances, MRI, CT, and bone scans may be required.
Treating scaphoid fractures depends on the fracture’s location and whether or not there is a fracture displacement. Nondisplaced scaphoid fractures are typically treated with a cast within eight to twelve weeks. Scaphoid fractures that do not heal adequately with cast treatment or displaced fractures may require surgery.