When we are falling down, the most natural reaction is to stretch out our hand to break the fall. This is the body’s way of protecting the all-important spine from blunt-force trauma.
When this happens, however, the small bones of the wrist tend to take the brunt of the impact. The most common type of broken wrist bone that results from a fall is a scaphoid fracture – sometimes called simply a broken wrist.
The scaphoid is one of the eight small bones (carpal bones) that together comprise the wrist. Each of these small bones has its own name, and the scaphoid is located between your thumb bone and your radius bone in the arm. Due to its position, it is the bone that is most commonly damaged in the wrist.
Let’s talk about some of the symptoms that can indicate a scaphoid fracture in your wrist.
A scaphoid fracture is not the kind of broken bone that you don’t notice – it is easy to feel this type of injury. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
The pain you will feel from having a scaphoid fracture decreases over several days if the fracture is minor. A broken scaphoid may not cause any significant bruising or swelling, which is why most people mistake this type of injury as simply a wrist sprain.
However, delaying treatment and assuming that the accident only caused a sprain can worsen the fracture over time. Neglecting this injury may lead to what surgeons call a nonunion, where the fracture takes a longer time to heal or heals improperly.
If you have wrist pain that persists for more than a week, consult a doctor right away.
If you have constant pain in your wrist after a fall or other trauma to that area, the doctor will check for any signs of fracture through swelling, loss of motion, and bruising. If the physician suspects that you may have a scaphoid fracture or another injury, they will likely perform an X-ray to look for a possible broken bone.
This can be a very fine, thin fracture – so if the X-ray doesn’t show anything, the physician may have you undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a computed tomography (CT) scan. These tests will provide further details so the doctor can give you a correct diagnosis and proper treatment.
Since 1950, Watauga Orthopaedics has been providing personalized and advanced bone and joint care in northeastern Tennessee to adults and kids – diagnosing and treating everything from a sprained ankle to a broken wrist to arthritis. Our orthopedic physicians provide compassionate, thorough, and convenient care for everyone in the family.
Contact our friendly team today by calling us at (423) 282-9011, or you may request an appointment online now. We look forward to helping you get rid of your musculoskeletal pain and get back to enjoying life!