Treatment depends on the location of the fracture.

Scaphoid Fracture

Broken Scaphoid

The scaphoid bone is a small wrist bone located on the thumb side of the wrist at the bend. Swelling and pain occurs at the thumb base, especially when moving the thumb or wrist or trying to grasp/grip something.

A scaphoid fracture is typically due to a fall onto an outstretched hand.

Your physician will discuss your symptoms and take x-rays or an MRI (magnetic resonance image) to confirm the fracture.

Treatment depends on the location of the fracture. If it is near the thumb it can heal in a matter of weeks because this area of the bone has plentiful blood supply that is needed to heal. Your physician will likely place your arm in a cast and with minimal time and x-ray monitoring will heal. If the fracture is near the forearm a cast that includes the thumb will be applied. This area is harder to heal because of lesser blood flow to that part of the bone.

If the scaphoid is fractured at the proximal pole you may require surgery that holds the bone in place with metal implants, such as screws and wires. If the bone is broken in more than two pieces, fails to heal (nonunion), or suffers from avascular necrosis (death of bone due to lack of blood supply), a bone graft can be done to aid in healing.

Scaphoid Fracture
(Left) This x-ray shows a scaphoid fracture fixed in place with a screw.(Right) This x-ray was taken 4 months after surgery. The fracture of the scaphoid is healed.
Image courtesy of AAOS