Synergy Health Partners

Scaphoid Fracture


A scaphoid fracture is a break in the scaphoid bone, one of the small carpal bones in the wrist. The scaphoid is located near the base of the thumb and plays a crucial role in wrist function and stability. Scaphoid fractures are common and often occur from a fall onto an outstretched hand.


Scaphoid fractures typically result from:

  • Falls: Falling onto an outstretched hand with the wrist extended.
  • Direct Trauma: A direct blow to the wrist or hand.
  • Sports Injuries: Common in sports like football, basketball, or snowboarding where falls and impacts are frequent.


Symptoms of a scaphoid fracture can include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the wrist, especially on the thumb side.
  • Swelling and bruising around the wrist.
  • Pain when gripping or pinching objects.
  • Decreased range of motion and strength in the wrist.
  • Difficulty moving the thumb or wrist.


Diagnosis of a scaphoid fracture involves a combination of clinical examination and imaging studies:

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: Assessment of symptoms, injury history, and physical examination to check for tenderness in the anatomical snuffbox (a depression on the thumb side of the wrist) and other signs of a fracture.
  • X-rays: Initial imaging to identify the fracture. However, small or non-displaced fractures may not be visible on initial X-rays.
  • CT Scan or MRI: Advanced imaging techniques may be used if the fracture is not visible on X-rays but is still suspected based on clinical findings. These modalities provide detailed images of the bone and can detect fractures not seen on X-rays.


Treatment for a scaphoid fracture depends on the location and severity of the fracture and can include:

  • Non-Surgical Treatment:

    • Casting or Splinting: Immobilization with a cast or splint to allow the bone to heal. This is usually effective for non-displaced or minimally displaced fractures.
    • Follow-Up X-rays: Regular imaging to monitor the healing process and ensure proper alignment of the bone.
  • Surgical Treatment:

    • Internal Fixation: Surgery may be necessary for displaced fractures or fractures that do not heal with immobilization. This involves using screws or pins to stabilize the bone and promote healing.
    • Bone Grafting: In cases where there is a nonunion (failure of the bone to heal), bone grafting may be performed to stimulate healing.


The prognosis for a scaphoid fracture varies depending on the location of the fracture and the timeliness of treatment:

  • Proximal Pole Fractures: Fractures near the forearm are more challenging to heal due to limited blood supply and may require surgical intervention.
  • Distal Pole Fractures: Fractures near the thumb side typically heal more quickly and have a better prognosis.
  • Timely Treatment: Early and appropriate treatment generally results in good outcomes, while delayed or inadequate treatment can lead to complications such as nonunion or avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue due to lack of blood supply).


Preventing scaphoid fractures involves taking measures to reduce the risk of falls and wrist injuries:

  • Protective Gear: Wearing wrist guards or protective equipment during sports and activities that pose a risk of falls.
  • Proper Technique: Using proper techniques and form in sports and physical activities to minimize the risk of falls and impacts.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Performing exercises to strengthen the wrist and improve overall stability and resilience to injury.


A scaphoid fracture is a common wrist injury that requires prompt and appropriate treatment to ensure proper healing and avoid complications. If you experience persistent pain, swelling, or difficulty using your wrist after a fall or trauma, seek medical attention for a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for achieving the best possible outcome and maintaining wrist function.