Injury Spotlight: Scaphoid Fracture

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The Scaphoid bone is one of eight carpal bones in the wrist. It is situated on the thumb side of the hand & wrist connecting the two rows of carpal bones together in the anatomical snuffbox. With this location, it ultimately makes the scaphoid more susceptible to injury making it the most commonly broken carpal bone.

Mechanism of Injury

The most common mechanism of injury for the scaphoid is falling on an outstretched hand also known as a ‘FOOSH’ injury, but can also be fractured in a direct blow in a contact or collision sport.

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Signs and Symptom

Pain and swelling on the thumb side of the hand are typically noted along with point tenderness in the anatomical snuffbox. Most of the time, diagnosis can go undetected due to no real physical deformities to the hand and wrist with a normal range of motion after injury. Early and proper diagnosis is essential to the health of the hand or it can lead complication in the wrist & hand or can also lead to necrosis or death of the bone due to the minimal amount of blood flow it receives.

If an athlete is suspected of having a scaphoid fracture, he/she is then referred to an Orthopedic Physician for X-Ray and MRI diagnosis. 

Treatment

If the bone is not out of place at the fracture point, then treatment is fairly easy and the athlete is immobilized and put into a cast for at least 6 weeks. If the fracture is out of place, then surgery is typically recommended to insert pins to fix the fractured part of bone in the proper place.

After casting or immobilization is removed, the the athlete will complete physical therapy to help restore normal range of motion and strength.

Sports Related Injury

Sports or activities that you most commonly see Scaphoid fractures are typically in contact and collision activities such as:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Baseball
  • Weightlifting
  • Rugby
  • Gymnastics
  • Box Jumps
  • Strength and Conditioning

Jessica M Thomas MS, ATC, CHC

Fowler JR1, Hughes TB et al. Clin Sports Med. 2015 Jan;34(1):37-50..Scaphoid fractures.

http://www.sportsmd.com/wrist-hand-injuries/scaphoid-fracture-surgery/

http://www.houstonmethodist.org/orthopedics/where-does-it-hurt/wrist/scaphoid-fracture/

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