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  1. #1
    Spice
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    New question here. Injury recovery time - broken Scaphoid and surgery?

    Hi guys,

    broken scaphoid- done about 7 weeks ago (beginning of August). Woo!
    Who else has broken this pesky bone?

    My question for anyone who has experienced this before is how long were you in a cast for after the break, and again after surgery?

    The short story for anyone interested:
    - Broke it 2 days into a mtb holiday in scotland
    - Assumed it was sprained- carried on riding hard for a week
    - Got xrays to be on the safe side- told it is all good
    - Carried on with nomal tasks and work (including blasksmithing, lifting etc)
    - Still ached 6 weeks later - more xrays shows it is clearly broken
    - Had cast for just under 2 weeks- spoke to a doctor today and was told 6 more weeks in a cast, then surgery.
    Last edited by joehspicer@msn.com; 09-25-2012 at 05:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Spice
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    And how long until you were back on the mountainbike?

  3. #3
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    Minimum 3-4 months... Possibly longer. That bone has a tenuous blood supply and can be prone to nonunion I have had several friends with this fracture and even with surgery it still takes time to heal. One of those friends ended up with a partial wrist fusion after a failed bone grafting surgery. My rec would be to find a TT road bike were you can sit in aero bars and keep pressure off the wrist.

  4. #4
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    Not exactly what I wanted to hear- I thought doctors usually exaggerate recovery times!
    TT bars for the road bike are a good idea- riding in british winter is better than no riding!

    Such a pain that such a small injury which dosnt particularly hurt, can cause so much aggo

  5. #5
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    I broke this same bone and didn't think it was broken. Finally went in to the doctor because of the same achy feeling after about 3 weeks after I crashed and they could clearly see the crack. I didn't have surgery because it was a crack and the bone was still together. I was only in a cast for about 4 weeks but should have been in one much longer. It literally took over a year for it to feel normal again. I had that achy arthritis feeling over a year. Like Kinsler said, the blood flow is almost non existent in this area of your wrist and it takes a very long time to heal. I started riding again about 2 months after I cracked it. I am sure that didn't help the healing process and probably why it took a year to feel better.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by joehspicer@msn.com View Post
    Not exactly what I wanted to hear- I thought doctors usually exaggerate recovery times!
    Sometimes we do... but with good reason! Don't rush this injury, it's not worth it. I had another friend who broke hers and was being treated in a cast. She then cut part of her cast off and did La Ruta and went onto a nonunion. She eventually needed surgery. This fracture is very unforgiving.

  7. #7
    Spice
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    I'll take the time for it to heal, I don't fancy having a seized up wrist forever!
    I added a bit of extra length to my cast along my thumb today with some more fibreglass, just to stop me using my hand unnecessarily. Its working well! hopefully that'll help.
    A bit annoyed that the doctor didn't see the break in the first set of xrays I had last month- even I can see the break. And in the latter set the bone doesn't seem to be as well aligned as it was in the beginning.

  8. #8
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    Just been looking through the disc I was given with with the old and new x-rays on (i was going to be changing address, so was given a copy to take to the new hospital I was due to head to.)
    Original on the 11th August
    new ones on the 13th september.

    The notes on the original xray says

    "there is an undisplaced fracture through the waist of the scaphoid"

    The doctor came out and told me that there was no break, and I was "all good to go" in his words. So he knew it was broken but told me it wasnt. Kinsler, being a doctor, you may know if there is any reason for him to do this? Because at this point i'm a bit confused.

  9. #9
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    Can't think of any. I read my own xrays typically and sometimes either the radiologist report isn't back while I'm seeing the patient or I read it differently. It's not uncommon for this fracture to not show up on the first xrays. In that situation if I'm suspicious there is a break I'll put someone in a cast and then take repeat xrays in a couple weeks.

  10. #10
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    From my personal experience all injuries take longer to heal than the doctors say. I have friends who have rushed back into activity after injury and surgeries and have not recovered as fully as they had hoped ie, loss of range of motion. I don't know if I just heal slowly or what, but, I have always healed fully, but slowly. I hope you have a good physical therapist. And best wishes, being injured is no fun.

  11. #11
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    I guess the comment must have been from the radiologist then, and as you said the doctor didn't see it.
    I hope that's not the case lynnb, sorry to hear it takes you longer than expected. The only "proper" injury experience I've had was a broken collar bone, which healed perfectly quite quickly..
    New xray on the left, original on the right.

    Oh well, by the time i'm off the turbo trainer i'll have a killer sprint
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  12. #12
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    It's definitely there on the first X-ray. Were you offered surgery?

  13. #13
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    I've been told to keep the cast on for 6 weeks, then they'll have another look to see if it's healing well on it's own, or will need surgery.

  14. #14
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    I recently broke my scaphoid and my doctor gave me the option of waiting to see how the bone healed on its own or to go ahead and have surgery. Based on the poor blood flow and that I'm an active person he suggested getting the surgery to it a screw in put in to increase the likelihood of a faster and successful healing. From my reading, it seems this is the preferred option. I had the surgery 2 weeks ago and am now keeping my figures crossed that all goes well. I hope all goes well for you. I know this is frustrating, as I too didn't think mine was broken either. Oddly enough, I broke mine radius at the same time, and it was a much more obvious break and it will be good to go much sooner than the broken scaphoid.

  15. #15
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    I hope you have a speedy recovery and the results from the operation are good. I asked for an operation when numerous doctors told me it would most likely require one- yet I was told to leave it for 6 weeks first. I suppose it would be better if it healed naturally, it just looks like it'll take a little longer

  16. #16
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    I suffered the same injury (along with a broken collarbone) in August last year. My wrist felt sprained for a few weeks but the first few doctors said nothing was wrong based on the initial set of x-rays. Third doctor decided to take another look with a fresh set of x-rays and guess what, broken scaphoid at the mid section (waist).

    They referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon who cast my hand and thumb in one of those hard plastic casts with velcro straps for about 1-2 weeks, in an effort to see if the bone would heal on its own. The surgeon did mention that from the looks of it, surgery would be required but he would try putting me on the cast anyway. So after the 2 weeks or so, they did a CT scan and my worst fears were confirmed, not only was the bone broken, it was bent. There was no way it'll heal by itself.

    I had surgery in November, they basically grafted some bone from my hip into the scaphoid and put a screw in for good measure. I was put in a plaster cast for a few weeks, after which they changed it to support brace, which is this:

    The brace has metal pieces in it to keep the thumb from moving around. I wore that for about 3-4 months, only removing it for physiotherapy and when I showered. In March this year, my doctor allowed me to remove the brace for driving. In April my bone had fully healed, and in May I went for my first cycling ride on pavement. I only started cycling in the trails in July and I continue to wear the support brace as protection during cycling. I am due for a checkup next year April.

    My advice is to make sure that the doctors perform at least a CT scan or an MRI for you, to ascertain how bad the fracture is. 6 weeks seems a bit long but if they decide that surgery is needed, I'd suggest you to book a date as soon as possible. I wouldn't rush back to cycling while recovering, just let it fully recover first. The reality is that there is a small chance the bone wouldn't heal after surgery, but let's be optimistic. For now, avoid doing any lifting or using that hand for anything, and if you smoke, stay off the cigarettes.

    Here is my original thread: I'm Down (Broken Collarbone)

    Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be happy to help you.
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  17. #17
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    I think from all the responses and my own personal experience, this is the last bone you ever want to fracture or break. Good luck in your recovery Joe!

  18. #18
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    It sounds like you got a rather bad one aizen! I'm keeping it rested- and luckily not a smoker.
    And thanks for the info etc from the rest of the replies guys.

    The only problem i've been coming across is getting the cast wet (mainly from sweat!). I've been running and getting on the turbo trainer and it just seems permanently sodden despite trying to dry it with a hairdryer.
    Popped into the hospital today to get a new cast as this one was feeling too wet- turned out my hand had become macerated (mainly around the thumb and right hand side of the hand). Far too wet to dry whilst I was waiting around, so I suggested using a splint for a day, which the nurse agreed with. So in the mean time it's out of a cast (horraaayyy, air!) but i'm back in the hospital tomorrow to get a new cast.
    For anyone else who isnt sure if the cast is too wet.... if your hand feels moist and clammy for more than a day- get the cast CHANGED! The macerated skin is pretty sore and tender, and if it leads to infection it looks like far more trouble

  19. #19
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    Yeah it was pretty bad. I had to use my dominant left hand to perform tasks as my right arm was practically useless following the collarbone fracture. Who would have imagined that soon enough the discovery of a broken scaphoid in my left hand would cause me to be reliant on my right arm, which had by then mostly healed. Life is strange at times.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windout22 View Post
    I recently broke my scaphoid and my doctor gave me the option of waiting to see how the bone healed on its own or to go ahead and have surgery. Based on the poor blood flow and that I'm an active person he suggested getting the surgery to it a screw in put in to increase the likelihood of a faster and successful healing. From my reading, it seems this is the preferred option. I had the surgery 2 weeks ago and am now keeping my figures crossed that all goes well. I hope all goes well for you. I know this is frustrating, as I too didn't think mine was broken either. Oddly enough, I broke mine radius at the same time, and it was a much more obvious break and it will be good to go much sooner than the broken scaphoid.

    hey there !
    saw your post on the forum, and i would love to get some help from you.
    broken my scaphoid bone on my weak hand 4 days ago, and have been offered to go through surgery next week. the bone is not displaced which means i don't have to do the surgery, and also fractured it on the waist of the bone, even though I do want faster healing time.
    can you please tell me about your experience with recovery after the surgery?
    thank you very much!!!

    Nadav
    Last edited by nadav182; 02-15-2013 at 10:46 AM.

  21. #21
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    For those looking - I like to leave postive experiences

    I broke this one 21 years ago. F=M*A on a Honda 250. This injury needs "time" to heal 100% This injury has ruined more bikers (SX/MX) and cyclers than just about any other and I know personally people who have come back to quick from this injury and always have had problems. Let this one heal all the way and it should never be a problem again!

  22. #22
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    How quick do you think "too quick" is? I had surgery just before new year, currently in a splint after 7 more weeks in a cast- hoping to start road riding in the next month.... bad idea?

  23. #23
    mfm
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    On a positive note: I fractured mine (distal- so, admittedly, probably the 'best' break to have with that bone). I was told the usual 8 weeks, up to 12 for someone my age. Long story short: I was 5.5 weeks to fully healed.

    I did laser therapy and drank a lot of Comfrey Tea. A lot. I also chose not to re-cast once my arm had atrophied so I had a littled wiggle room in there. I think the little bit of mobility helped with the healing and rehab. I also had my cast formed to the shape of my handle bars so I could still do easy riding.

  24. #24
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    Re: question on recovery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Windout22 View Post
    I recently broke my scaphoid and my doctor gave me the option of waiting to see how the bone healed on its own or to go ahead and have surgery. Based on the poor blood flow and that I'm an active person he suggested getting the surgery to it a screw in put in to increase the likelihood of a faster and successful healing. From my reading, it seems this is the preferred option. I had the surgery 2 weeks ago and am now keeping my figures crossed that all goes well. I hope all goes well for you. I know this is frustrating, as I too didn't think mine was broken either. Oddly enough, I broke mine radius at the same time, and it was a much more obvious break and it will be good to go much sooner than the broken scaphoid.
    Hope you are fully recover now!
    Need an operation soon, just want to know do you need a second operation to remove the screw out, and how many months after the first surgery?

  25. #25
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    Good luck with your recovery! I broke my scaphoid and still have a cast on. The dumb part was I was riding on a sidewalk. I've been riding since I was 8 and have never broken a bone on dirt. I guess pavement and I just don't get along. Anyway, I have 6 weeks in a cast, then up to 6 more in another cast or splint. A buddy of mine broke his too (on single track) but he is racing again with only 2 weeks in a cast. Not sure how that works.

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