Wrist sprain or scaphoid fracture?

Patient

Q: Hi i fell on the ice yesterday and went to a and e had an x ray they said its a sprain. i dont have much faith in them tho as they told my dad not long ago he a a sprain and turned out broken and ligament damage. so i have pain near the scaphoid and when i bend my wrist it feels like a balloon. i has swelling but not very noticable i can move my wrist now even though its painful and clench my fist. it also feel a bit numb on my palm any advise

Doctor

A:    According to your description, most likely you had a sprain of the wrist, the healing time for such injuries varies from patient to patient, but generally requires Protection (splinting and avoidance of painful movements and activities), Rest, Ice the first 24 hours and then local heat (hot moist compresses or paraffin baths), anti inflammatory medication (i.e.: “Aleve”) so you can come back progressively to your daily routine in about 4-6 weeks. It is recommended that you keep using the wrist brace and avoid movements and activities that put additional stress on the wrist. But if the limitation of the movements, pain, and inflammation do not improve with the measures above and on the contrary continue and worsen, then, you should be re-evaluated ASAP by a orthopedic surgeon or a hand specialist and probably you will need to get some CT scan or MRI taken to rule out some other causes of wrist pain and limitation after a fall in a young individual like yourself as a Scaphoid fracture, which require specialized imaging tests as CT scan to be diagnosed because sometimes does not show in the initial x-rays and also needs a special immobilization longer.

Comments / Follow Ups

Guest: I have had a scaphoid transplant and the pain was as you described when i broke mine. You have to imobilize the thumb in a splint called a thumb spika splint. If it still hurts a significnt time after the initial injury it could be the loss of blood flow to the bone to help it heal. It is a very tricky injury that requires a good doctor and an mri with contrast to track your blood flow. Scaphoid dont like to heal because of this and often require surgery so make sure you hvae it properly checked out. It ruined my motorcyle career and now i have 50% movement forever and arthritis to go with the pain

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