A scaphoid fracture is essentially a break in the bone located at the thumb of the wrist. First and foremost, there are eight carpal bones in our wrist and the one that is most prone to a fracture is the scaphoid bone. Scaphoid bone fractures require a timely diagnosis, as they need to be treated in order to recover. When proper treatment is administered, healing will be speedy. Without proper treatment, the patient may suffer from long-term consequences such as stiffness and even arthritis as the bone supply in the scaphoid is scarce. In this article, let’s look at some of the causes and symptoms of this fracture.
The most common cause of a scaphoid fracture is when using it to cushion a fall. It is our natural instinct to shield the bulk of our body from an impact by stretching out our hand. The fingers are weak in tension and the impact coupled with the weight of our body is more than sufficient to fracture the scaphoid bone. They can also be twisted and broken during high impact sports such as basketball, rugby and soccer. Goalkeepers especially are vulnerable, as they have to constantly stop balls that travel at speeds up to 200km/h.
Unlike other forms of fracture where bruising and swelling will be present, a scaphoid fracture do not exhibit these symptoms. Instead, there will only be minor symptoms such as pain and tenderness only when you are touching the thumb, the inability to grip something hard, the inability to twist the wrist and/or thumb as well as light bruises. The symptoms are pretty similar to a sprained wrist and patients often have the mentality that it will recover on its own. There will not be any deformation at the wrist area at all. If the symptoms persist after a day, it may be a sign of fracture and medical attention must be sought immediately.
When a scaphoid fracture is diagnosed and identified using x-ray, treatment will commence immediately. There is a risk that the fracture may develop into a nonunion which is essentially the inability for both bones to heal together or one of the bones losing its blood supply and dying off.
A scaphoid fracture is a complex injury that will bring nothing but trouble. However, advances in the medical industry have seen an increase in the success rates after treatment has been administered, of which minimally invasive techniques appears to be the most promising one.