The scaphoid is one of the small bones in the wrist and is the bone most likely to break, it is located on the thumb side of the wrist where the wrist bends. The most common cause is to fall onto an outstretched hand landing on the palm.
Persistent pain and swelling at the base of the thumb. This pain may be exacerbated when you move your thumb or wrist or when you try to grip something. If the wrist is not deformed at all it can sometimes be mistaken for a sprain, but the pain will persist long after a sprain should have healed.
Non-surgical: If the fracture is in a good position the application of a cast or splint with regular monitoring and subsequent physical therapy is the most common treatment option. The closer the fracture is to the thumb the quicker it will heal because of better blood supply in this region.
Surgical: If the fracture is broken in the middle or more towards the wrist, surgery may be recommended and metal screws and wires may be used to hold the scaphoid in place until the bone is fully healed. In cases where the bone is broken into more than two pieces a bone graft may be needed and is usually taken from your forearm bone in the same arm. Surgical management is also followed by application of a splint or cast while the fracture heals and then physical therapy to regain strength and movement.
The cast or splint may be needed for up to six weeks followed by physical therapy. Some residual stiffness may occur in the wrist and it may not regain full strength. Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis that affects the joint at the base of the thumb and it occurs when the usually smooth cartilage of the joint begins to wear away causing friction and damage to the bones and joint, and can be a long term side effect of a fracture such as this.