What is the scaphoid bone?
The scaphoid bone is a small bone which is found in the wrist. It is important for wrist function and movement and if injured, can lead to significant and permanent damage, especially if not treated correctly and quickly.
Scaphoid fractures can be difficult to diagnose at first instance, resulting in a missed fracture or misdiagnosis which may lead to a delay in the patient receiving the necessary treatment. This in turn can lead to the patient requiring more invasive treatment that would otherwise have been necessary and they may be left with permanent damage.
How to diagnose a fractured scaphoid?
Symptoms of a scaphoid fracture include pain, swelling and wrist stiffness and some patients may think that they have merely sprained their wrist. X-rays are usually helpful in diagnosing the fracture, but it is possible for a scaphoid fracture to be missed on the first x-ray. Therefore, if a scaphoid fracture is suspected, a follow up x-ray should be carried out 10 to 14 days later and the wrist should be immobilised with a splint on plaster in the meantime. A bone scan, CT scan or MRI scan can also be helpful in diagnosing the fracture.
Treatment of a scaphoid fracture
Typical treatment of a scaphoid fracture is to place the wrist in plaster for approximately 6 weeks. If this is unsuccessful or if the injury is not treated quickly enough then further treatment is likely to be required which could include an operation to insert screws and a bone graft.
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