What is it?

A scaphoid fracture is a break in one of the bones in your wrist. They usually happen if you’ve had a fall onto your outstretched hand. Sometimes, wrist fractures are not really painful. However, if you have a scaphoid fracture, you need treatment. Correct diagnosis and prompt treatment can help to reduce complications.


What will my GP do now?

It can be hard to diagnose a scaphoid fracture. They don’t always show up on X-rays. If your doctor suspects you have a scaphoid fracture, but your initial X-ray looks normal, they may request an MRI. Or, they may apply a cast for up to 2 weeks, and then repeat the X-ray.
Treatment is usually with a cast worn on your arm up to your elbow for 5-12 weeks. Your GP may refer you to a hand clinic for follow-up assessment and treatment.
If you have a more serious fracture, or a fracture that does not line up properly, your GP may refer you for review by a specialist surgeon. You may need surgery to realign and stabilize the fracture.


What will my GP do in the future?

The length of time for healing varies. It depends on the type and location of the fracture. Your GP may conduct a follow-up scan to see how well your bone has healed.


What can I do?

Do gentle exercises as directed by your GP or physiotherapist. Visit your GP if you have:

  • Any problem with your cast, for example, if it is too tight or if it has cracks
  • Dropped an object down inside your cast
  • Prolonged numbness or tingling, like pins and needles in your fingers and toes, or you can’t move them
  • Fingers that turn blue, or white, or feel cold
  • Swelling, burning, pain or symptoms of infection such as a fever, chills or fatigue