Scaphoid Fracture: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

The most often fractured carpal bone is the scaphoid. A common cause of this fracture is a fall onto an outstretched hand. The scaphoid bone is one of eight tiny bones in the wrist known as carpal bones. These bones allow for extensive, yet delicate, hand and wrist movements.

What Is A Scaphoid Fracture?

Scaphoid Fracture

The displacement of one of the eight bones of the wrist joint is known as a scaphoid (carpal navicular) fracture. It is situated between the forearm’s radius bone and the base of the thumb.

Scaphoid Anatomy

Scaphoid Fracture

One of the eight carpal bones of the wrist is the scaphoid. The distal radius, trapezium, and capitate articulate with this boat-shaped carpal bone. The movement of the wrist is limited when the scaphoid collides with the radius during extension and radial deviation.
The term “scaphoid” is derived from the Greek word “boat.” With its long, curved shape, the scaphoid bone resembles a boat.

Scaphoid Fracture Types/Classification

Scaphoid fractures are classified into two categories based on the degree of displacement of the bone fragments from their original position.

The categories are:

Non-Displaced Fracture

The pieces or fragments of bone stay in the normal alignment. When the bone cracks but does not shatter all the way through, they are commonly referred to as incomplete fractures.

Displaced Fracture

The fragments of bone in this type of fracture move from their original position. Displaced fractures are generally more complex because the bones are out of alignment, or they may be in several pieces.

Scaphoid Fracture Symptoms

If one gets pain after a fall on the outstretched hand , it is necessary to visit a hand surgeon to rule out any injury. A scaphoid fracture should be treated as soon as possible to avoid complications.
It is not uncommon to miss a scaphoid fracture. The discomfort from certain scaphoid fractures is mild and can be misinterpreted as a wrist sprain.

Common symptoms of a scaphoid fracture are:

  • After a bad fall, the wrist swells.
  • Bruising around the scaphoid
  • Tenderness and pain in the area below the base of the thumb.
  • Unstable wrist or thumb movement.
  • When lifting or holding objects, pain in the hand occurs.

Scaphoid Fracture Causes

A tiny or major impact on your wrist can lead to a scaphoid fracture.

  • Falls Using the hand to brace when falling to the ground is a common primary scaphoid fracture cause. This exerts a lot of strain on the wrist, which causes the scaphoid to break.
  • Sports Scaphoid fractures are more common in sports like skiing, snowboarding, skating, and gymnastics.
  • Accidents A direct strike to the wrist, as well as car accidents, can cause the scaphoid bone to dislocate.

Scaphoid Fracture: Investigations.

Post a physical exam with a hand surgeon, you will most likely need a few imaging tests to confirm if you have a scaphoid fracture. Those tests are:

  • X-rays are used to examine dense materials like bone. An x-ray will be ordered by the doctor to see if you have a scaphoid fracture and if the fractured fragments of bone are displaced. The doctor will also use an x-ray to see whether you have any more fractures. A scaphoid fracture may not show up on an x-ray right away in some situations. If your doctor feels you have a fracture but it isn’t evident on an x-ray, he or she may advise you to wear a wrist splint or cast for two to three weeks before returning for another x-ray. Scaphoid fractures are frequently only seen on x-ray after a period of time.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan To understand more about the bones and soft tissues in your wrist, the hand specialist may ask you to get an MRI. An MRI can sometimes reveal a scaphoid fracture that isn’t visible on an x-ray.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan A CT scan can be used to detect a scaphoid fracture and determine whether the bones are displaced. The CT scan will be used by your doctor to help select your treatment approach.

Scaphoid Fracture Diagnosis

Scaphoid fractures are often difficult to detect. Because the scaphoid is smaller than the other bones in your hand, the fracture may go undetected. The scaphoid area may not appear swollen, and you may not experience significant discomfort all of the time. As a result, the scaphoid fracture is frequently overlooked and mistaken for a sprained wrist.

Scaphoid Fracture Treatment

If your doctor diagnoses a scaphoid fracture, you should get treatment as soon as possible to minimise further complications. The recovery duration for a scaphoid fracture treated on time is only about 6 weeks or more.

Untreated scaphoid fractures, on the other hand, can take up to six months to heal fully. It’s for this reason that scaphoid fractures should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Any of the following scaphoid fracture treatments may be recommended by your doctor:

Scaphoid Fracture Surgery Success Rate

If treated within 4 weeks, the scaphoid surgery has a 95% success rate.

Scaphoid Fracture Surgery Cost

Scaphoid surgery in India is within your reach. Just call us for help.

Scaphoid Fracture Complications

If a scaphoid fracture is not detected and treated, it can lead to two major complications:


When bone pieces heal poorly or incompletely, it is called nonunion. Injury of the Scaphoid Nonunion occurs in 5 to 25% of scaphoid fractures after treatment, and it is more likely in elderly people, smokers, and when the fracture is not treated promptly.

Avascular necrosis

It occurs when the blood supply to part or all of the bone is cut off, causing the bone tissue to perish. Avascular necrosis is a common consequence of a scaphoid fracture, and the risk increases as the fracture becomes more proximal.

Scaphoid Fracture Recovery Exercises

Wrist Range of Motion

Bend wrist forward in a gentle manner. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 15 times twice.
Bend wrist backwards. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets.
Move your wrist from one side to another gently. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 15 times twice.

Wrist Stretch

To assist bend your wrist, and press the back of your injured hand with your other hand. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Then, by pressing the fingers in a backward motion, stretch the hand back. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. During this exercise, keep the arm on your injured side straight. Repeat for three sets.

Scaphoid Fracture Recovery Time

A scaphoid fracture usually requires 6 weeks to heal.

Heading 14: Scaphoid Fracture FAQs

Let us answer a few frequently asked questions to solve your doubts regarding a scaphoid fracture.

Q1. How Long Scaphoid Fracture Take To Heal

A scaphoid fracture requires around 6 weeks to heal.

Q2. Why Are Scaphoid Fractures Missed On X Ray

Scaphoid fractures may not be visible on standard X-rays. On an X-ray, the scaphoid bone usually hides beneath the other carpal bones.

Q3. Does a Scaphoid Fracture Require Surgery?

Treatment for a scaphoid fracture can either be casting or surgery. This depends on the extent of displacement of fracture fragments, associated injuries to adjacent bones, location of the fracture, size of the fracture to name a few.

Q4. What Happens If A Scaphoid Fracture Is Left Untreated

It can lead to wrist osteoarthritis if the fracture is ignored or left untreated.

Q5. Can a Scaphoid Fracture Heal On Its Own?

The scaphoid fracture cannot be left on its own to heal and it is advised to not leave it untreated.

Q6. Can You Move Your Wrist with a Scaphoid Fracture?

Even with a broken bone, some people can still move their hands but it will lead to pain during the movement.

Q7. Is a Scaphoid Fracture Painful?

The scaphoid fracture may be minimally painful unless it is accompanied with multiple other injuries.

Heading 15: Summary

A scaphoid fracture is a common injury following a fall on outstretched hand..
Majority of times xray may help clinch the diagnosis. One needs very specific views to pick up a fracture. Routine xray views are not very helpful. In some situations, surgery may be required to insert screws, rods, or other wires in your wrist to aid healing.
Although most people recover entirely from a fractured wrist, long-term consequences are possible. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise, medication, and surgery can all aid with your recovery and pain management.
A broken bone may appear frightening, especially if it occurs unexpectedly after a slip or tumble. But help is always available if you meet a hand surgeon. Scaphoid fractures are easy to treat, and there are several alternatives for ensuring that your bones and body recover in an optimum way.
Visit us to get your scaphoid fracture treated correctly. Get in touch with us here