The scaphoid is a small, boat-shaped bone located in the wrist on the thumb side. Despite its size, the scaphoid plays a crucial role in maintaining the stability and functionality of the wrist joint.
Due to its unique position and the demands placed on it during everyday activities, the scaphoid is susceptible to fractures. They account for 2%-7% of all fractures and 60%-70% of carpal bone fractures.
A scaphoid fracture may not sound as alarming as other injuries to the wrist, like a broken forearm or severe wrist sprain. But scaphoid fractures can often go undiagnosed and lead to long-term disability and deformity.
Here at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, our team accurately diagnoses scaphoid fractures and offers proper treatment. Read on to learn why you should pay attention if you suspect a scaphoid fracture.
How scaphoid fractures happen
Scaphoid fractures often result from a fall onto an outstretched hand, which can happen during sports or an accidental slip.
What makes these fractures tricky is that they might not seem serious at first. Unlike more obvious fractures, a scaphoid fracture can show up with symptoms that might be mistaken for a sprain.
Need for a prompt diagnosis
One of the challenges with scaphoid fractures is the potential delay in diagnosis.
The symptoms, including pain and swelling at the base of the thumb, may not seem that bad and you might not think to get medical attention. But delaying the diagnosis and treatment of a scaphoid fracture can have serious consequences.
The scaphoid has a limited blood supply, and fractures can disrupt this blood flow. Without adequate blood supply, the bone has trouble healing.
You may experience complications such as nonunion, where the fractured pieces of bone fail to heal together. Nonunion can result in chronic pain, limited range of motion, and even wrist arthritis.
Treatment for a scaphoid fracture
If you suspect a scaphoid fracture or experience persistent pain in your wrist after a fall, make an appointment with us at Maryland Orthopedic Group. Our team performs a thorough examination, including imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI and, in some cases, a CT scan.
Treatment options for scaphoid fractures vary depending on the severity and location of the fracture. We may recommend a cast or, if your case is severe, surgery to realign the bone fragments.
As you recover, we’ll recommend physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises to restore strength, flexibility, and function to the wrist.
While a scaphoid fracture might not sound alarming, it does have the potential to cause long-term wrist problems if not treated properly.
If you’ve experienced a wrist injury, get an examination at one of our offices today. We have locations in Bethesda, Rockville, or Germantown, Maryland. Call us at 301-515-0900 or set up an appointment here.