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  1. #1
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    Is my scaphoid fractured?!

    4 days ago now, i came off my bike whiles doing a spot of downhill. I fell about 4 feet down an almost vertical bank and (naturally) put my hands out to stop me.

    I got up, dusted myself off but continued to ride in quite a bit of discomfort.

    Anyway, i went to the local walk in centre, and they checked it out. They said that as i have full movement in my wrist/thumb, it wont be broken. Now i've sprained my wrist before and it doesnt feel the same at all. They said if it's still hurting in a week or so then go back.

    I have full movement, as stated above, but it certainly hurts when i move it. I also have a constant aching sensation in the area below my thumb. My grip on objects is much less, as it hurts, and when i move it about, i get twinges of pain. Believe it or not, the most painful exercise is releasing the handbrake on my car.

    I've done a bit of research and to me it seems like it could well be a fractured scaphoid, and i'm a bit worried by all the scare stories of it not healing, and it being better to pick it up early.

    I have no swelling or bruising around the area, jsut the pain.

    I'm just hoping that someone on here who HAS fractured their scaphoid can tell me what discomfort/pain they have experienced.

  2. #2
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    Fractured Scaphoid

    I fractured my scaphoid a few years back, falling in a similar way as you have described with my hands out. I experienced the same symptoms as you have described, except I also had significant swelling above the thumb (near the wrist on the top of my hand) and bruising all around the wrist and palm area.

    I had an MRI to confirm the fracture, as it is difficult to diagnose hand fractures with x-rays (all those bones in the hand overshadow each other).

    I would recommend going in to your doc and seeing about an MRI. You are right in that you don't want to leave a fractured scaphoid untreated. You can lose significant hand dexterity and strength forever. I had mine casted from my hand up to my elbow for a couple months. No riding, but I was able to run. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    what betty said.

    i did my scaphoid a few years back. went for a couple of days before getting it looked at. by then, lots of bruising and swelling. i remember it was even difficult to grip a pen and write...as i was in the middle of final exams at school.

    xray and an mri confirmed it. cast and bone stimulator for a few months.

    good luck!! not too big of a deal, but definately get it taken care of.

  4. #4
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    i broke my scaphoid as well but in a work related incident. I went into the emergicare to get it xrayed and they didn't see anything. fast forward 2 years later and i had another injury of that wrist. This time i couldn't even hold a pencil. End result was a scaphoid in 17 pieces due to weakness from the original break never healing properly. Definetly get an mri. My doc said that if i would have caught it originally i would not have gone thru the 5 years of hell it took for my wrist to heal again. Better safe than sorry in my book....

    Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Don't know how much MRIs cost where you are, but get an xray first anyway. You should have a significant amount of swelling, probably pain when holding any weight. Hopefully it is not broken because it sucks (had one) but the signs are there. Could be a bad sprain though

  6. #6
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    Me Three!

    Had to get an MRI after 2 weeks of PAIN in left wrist. E.R. x-ray did not reveal anuthing...said it was a deep bone bruise. The scaphoid is a tough bone to heal, especially if you don't know it's broken and put in a cast right away. Hope you heal up soon!

  7. #7
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    trying my hardest not to be a smartass...

    I think your doctor probably has better ways to determine if a bone is broken than asking an internet forum. The wrist is a pretty complicated joint, even if it's not broken there are a bunch of ligaments that can tear (which might be worse than a broken scaphoid), if that's the case you will need surgery pretty much immediately.

    see a doctor now!

  8. #8
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    Cheers for all the replies

    I think i'll definitely get booked in to seeing my doctor pretty son on your recommendations

    the problem with the UK is that the National Health Service is "free" (we pay for it in our taxes, as you may be aware) so they are reluctant to send you off for an xray right away.

    Kiwi - stil lno sewlling, which is where i have my doubts. And pain is only in certain positions. Earlier i was holiding a can of Coke and it was comfortable, albeit the constant ache. then i twisted to put it to my lips and there was a twinge resulting in me dropping the coke. Its odd.

    Joules...not being a smartass at all it's a valid point. I jsut didnt want to be appearing to waste my doctors time over nothing, so thoguht i'd ask symptoms other people have experienced first.

    Will get myself a wrist support short term, then book into the doctors as soon as i can

    Cheers guys!

  9. #9
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    if your scaphoid is broken then taping the top of the thumb would drive u nuts....give the "thumbs up" sign and tap the top of your thumb with some decent taps...if it's broken/fractured it normally hurts quite a bit

    but of course only an xray and/or mri (if need be) can tell u for sure...best to get it checked out if u have any doubts

    i wouldn't book an appt to see a doc...just head to the emerge (bring something to do while u wait)...
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  10. #10
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    That causes a slight twinge, but doesn't hurt terribly much. On that basis, i might be tempted to wait until the end of teh week, as recommended cheers!

  11. #11
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    Check out this linky

    concerning certain wrist fractures including scaphoid (I had a Colles):

    http://www.eatonhand.com/hw/hw020.htm
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  12. #12
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    The scaphoid is the blood suppling bone to the hand. If not treated properly, necrosis can occur. If this happens, the dead bone is scraped out and a bone graft from the hip is done, replacing the dead bone. The proper treatment is a small screw.
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  13. #13
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    snuff box

    we usually check for tenderness in the anatomic snuff box (give the thumbs up sign and you will see a little pocket form at the wrist) if you are tender in that specific spot i would be concerned. a plain wrist x-ray can be insufficient and if a scaphoid injury is suspected there are specific scaphoid views that are obtained. frequently there will be x-ray findings as the bone is healing and forming new bone (so a normal x-ray on the day of injury could have an abnormal x-ray a week later). if your x-rays were normal but you had point tenderness in that snuff box area you should probably be placed into a thumb spica splint (you can probably google that) but it means you can't move your thumb. previous posters are correct in that this particular injury is a bigger deal than many other wrist fractures and get yourself to one of those UK docs. MRI is more definitive if the x-rays are unrevealing but you'll have to fly to the states to get one done in this lifetime. g'luck friend.

  14. #14
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    The reason they said come back in a week is because a broken scaphoid will show up on x-ray better.

    I had one sliding into third base, took the second x-ray to show up.

    Treatment rest and relax.

    Even if the x-ray is negative if you have pain, put a single wrap of tape around your wrist.

    This is just to remind you not to use it or abuse it, for 6 to 8 weeks, at least two weeks after it stops hurting.

    Mines fine took 6 weeks to stop hurting though.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeeJay
    4 days ago now, i came off my bike whiles doing a spot of downhill. I fell about 4 feet down an almost vertical bank and (naturally) put my hands out to stop me.

    I got up, dusted myself off but continued to ride in quite a bit of discomfort.

    Anyway, i went to the local walk in centre, and they checked it out. They said that as i have full movement in my wrist/thumb, it wont be broken. Now i've sprained my wrist before and it doesnt feel the same at all. They said if it's still hurting in a week or so then go back.

    I have full movement, as stated above, but it certainly hurts when i move it. I also have a constant aching sensation in the area below my thumb. My grip on objects is much less, as it hurts, and when i move it about, i get twinges of pain. Believe it or not, the most painful exercise is releasing the handbrake on my car.

    I've done a bit of research and to me it seems like it could well be a fractured scaphoid, and i'm a bit worried by all the scare stories of it not healing, and it being better to pick it up early.

    I have no swelling or bruising around the area, jsut the pain.

    I'm just hoping that someone on here who HAS fractured their scaphoid can tell me what discomfort/pain they have experienced.
    1. Ask a doctor. Get another X-ray or an MRI.
    2. I broke my scaphoid, radius, and ulnar styloid this summer. I had surgery to fix the first two. It's worth it.

    And I hate needles, surgery scares me, but I'm really happy I can use my right hand, thumb, and wrist again.
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  16. #16
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    I doubt there is anything more to add, but I broke/fractured my scaphoid 2 years ago (nearly to the day.)
    I did some research and pretty much diagnosed myself. (I had a job pursuading my parents to take me to A&E at all.)

    A pretty good test to find it is to put your middle finger and thumb together (like the 'ok' sign but different finger) and see if you can push them together. If it hurts (lots) then there is a good chance its broken..

    X-rays are not that effective at determining it. A good doctor would be of more help.

    Good luck!

  17. #17
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    just broke mine 8 days ago. Big spill over the bars on DH run. I actually went to A&E 3 days later as my back hurt & my mum kept on at me..... despite being married and 31! I just happened to mention my 'thought' sprained wrist and it transpired to be a fractured scaphoid following an XRay. Plaster now for 7.5 weeks.
    it didn't really hurt and no significant swelling, but when holding milk for example and pouring it, i was killing with sharp pain.
    Go to A&E now as it is a bone of horror stories if not sorted. Don't see your doc, that'll be a waste of time if you then need an xray.
    Complete arse for me as i'm self employed & a photographer so need this hand.

  18. #18
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    The scaphoid or navicular as it is sometimes called is the slowest healing bone in the body. It has poor blood supply therefore it doesnt get the nutrients it needs to heal very well. The course of treatment for many fx's in this area are waiting to see if you get bone union first. Then if that doesnt work they will usually pin(screw) and immobilize it. The reason x-rays dont always work is because the bone heals so slowly that not much osseous tissue is laid down very quickly so x-rays are usually negative. However, come back in a few weeks and the results will typically be different. I reccommend an x-ray follwed by an MRI or bone scan to rule out or confirm the possibility of a fracture. Then follow your ortho's advice from there.

  19. #19
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    Just a quick update.

    First off, thanks for all the posts of support. I went in a few days ago for an x-ray - nothing showed up. The pain has eased a little since the accident, but i still get the occasional twinge of shooting pain. Foolishly, i attempted a gently cycle to work, but that started to cause pain again, just gripping the handle bars. Needless to say i won't be attempting any cycling for a while. I think i'll be heading to the doctor again and seeing what he suggests this time. From what you guys have said, probably an MRI.

    Cheers again

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