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Conditions & Treatments

Scaphoid Fracture of the Wrist

The wrist is among the most complex joints in the body. The wrist’s functions include:

  • Moving the hand back and forth and side to side
  • Transferring forces from the arm to the hand
  • Providing strength and flexibility to the hand

These functions depend on a complex structure of multiple bones, joints, and soft tissues—tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels. A scaphoid fracture is usually described by its location within the bone. Most commonly, the scaphoid breaks in its mid-portion, called the “waist.” Fractures can also occur at both the proximal and distal ends of the bone.

Scaphoid fractures are classified according to the severity of displacement–or how far the pieces of bone have moved out of their normal position:

  • Non-displaced fracture. In this type of fracture, the bone fragments line up correctly.
  • Displaced fracture. In this type of fracture, the bone fragments have moved out of their normal position. There may be gaps between the pieces of bone or fragments may overlap each other.

Anatomy of the wrist

The wrist is a complex joint that bridges the hand to the forearm. It is actually a collection of multiple bones and joints. The bones comprising the wrist include the distal ends of the radius and ulna, 8 carpal bones, and the proximal portions of the 5 metacarpal bones

Causes of a broken wrist

Without a doubt, the most common cause of a broken wrist is due to a fall. When falling we intuitively outstretch our arms to brace ourselves. As a result, the wrist absorbs most of the force from the fall and can result in a scaphoid fracture.

Symptoms of a broken wrist

You will most likely experience immediate pain from a break in the wrist. After the injury is sustained, you will experience some or all the following:

  • Swelling of the fracture site
  • Tenderness at the fracture site
  • Bruising at the fracture site
  • Inability to move the hand or wrist

Contact our hand specialists (no referral needed).

A doctor should be consulted as soon as possible if you have broken your wrist. Contact Orthopedic Associates of Northern California for a same or next day appointment. Orthopedic Associates of Northern California does not require a referral from a primary care physician to schedule an appointment. You can contact us directly by phone or through our website contact form. During your consultations, your doctor will conduct physical examination followed by x-rays.

A team of hand specialists

Orthopedic Associates of Northern California boasts a team of fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopedic surgeons. We have a team of providers that specialize in the hand and wrist. Since 1995 our team has been helping patients who have sustained hand injuries. You can be confident you’re in great hands.

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