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  1. #1
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    Scaphoid fracture

    Over a year ago I broke the scaphoid bone in my wrist. the emergency room x-ray didn't pick it up and went undiagnosed for a couple weeks. I was in a cast for a bit and then went about the PT regimen that was prescribed. One year later and Im still in alot of pain during physical activity like skiing, mtn biking, etc... Has anyone else had a similar wrist injury? Is this normal or is my wrist fucked forever?
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

  2. #2
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    is that the "snuff box"? the slowest healing bone in the human body?

    i have shattered my left radius and on another occasion broke my snuff box (right in the inner base of the inner-most thumb bone). anyways, when i shattered it the ortho i saw in whataville, ME, saw the x-ray and asked me if i cared if it was a little crooked. being 20 and stupid, i said i didn't give a shit. now i have limited movement and get pain while biking and doing certain motions that require angled pushing.

    i don't think i have any bad side affects from the small bone fracture, but i may. i am pretty sure surgery is the only way to fix shit in there though. i may eventually get surgery if mine gets worse. fucking annoying that it messes up biking though...i obviously don't relish the thought of surgery either...
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by powder11
    One year later and Im still in alot of pain during physical activity like skiing, mtn biking, etc...

    Is this normal or is my wrist fucked forever?
    The problem with the scaphoid is that it has a poor blood supply and undisplaced fractures can be hard to see.

    My suggestion to you is that if you are having pain a year later, to go see an ortho. Occasionally the scaphoid can undergo what is called avascular necrosis(AVN) (tissue death from lack of blood). If that is the case you might either need another x-ray, or an MRI to diagnose that. Or if it is not an AVN it could be a non-union or delayed union fracture, meaning that it is trying to heal but just not getting there. Either way go see an ortho.

    I know this might be hard right now as you are in BC but maybe a raod trip to the states might be in order for you.....

    Good luck and if you have more questions ask.
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

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  4. #4
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    thanks for the feedback, one of these days Im going to have to have it looked at again. I hear you Gonz, mine was set in Rutland VT, not much better than aquatown.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

  5. #5
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    just don't wait too long. Could mean surgery if left untreated.
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

    WhiteRoom Skis
    Handcrafted in Northern Vermont
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  6. #6
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    I broke that bone a few years ago. Although the fracture didn't show on the xray, the doctor put me in a cast anyway, because that bone has such a tendency to heal poorly if at all. When i got the cast off, the follow-up xray showed a distinct fracture. Good move by the doc. My wrist was uncomfortable, but not painful, the rest of the year on my bike. A good friend of mine will be riding his bike for the first time in 2 years because that bone didn't heal right and he had to get the surgery, where they take a piece of your hip bone and put it in your wrist. He was in a hard cast for nearly 12 months. The doctor said he was lucky not to have gotten his wrist fused because the bone was so messed up. Get it checked out, it will only get worse.

  7. #7
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    I broke my scaphoid during a football game early september of '03. diagnosed as a sprain and went painfully ignored for eight weeks untill late november. Scaphod was in half and, as others have intimated, the poor blood supply meant that conventional casting would be iffy-- plus it went undiagnosed for so lon. Had the surgery. 1 week of no use bandages galore, then 3 months hard-cast, 2 months removable plastic cast. No rehab. All-in-all, it could have been worse. No fixy of the scaphoid means arthritis and just a pain in the ass in-general. I'd opt for surgery.

  8. #8
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    I did my scaphoid long boarding in 8th grade and also had a delayed diagnosis. Hurts like a bugger and can cause mucho circulation problems if its severe enough (mine was NOT thankfully.) Dont remember doing a whole lot of rehab but I was in a hard cast for 6 weeks. I'd do surgery if the doc thinks its going to screw with your circulation.

  9. #9
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    I fell hard on my wrist a few weeks ago and after a few days went and got it checked out, nurse said xrays didnt show anything, and to wear a thumb spike brace for a while. I did, and now its been a while, over a month, and it feels like my wrist is getting better, however I have very limited range of motion trying to move my thumb directly towards my forearm as if in a waving motion.

    Will this get better or do you more experienced mags think this is a misdiagnosed fracture like mentioned above? I dont feel any pain normally, however I still am not at the point where I can put enough weight on it to do say a pushup without pain. My insurance sucks balls right now, and I want to save on a visit if I dont need one.

  10. #10
    String is offline PowderdDonutsMakeMeGoNuts
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    If your still feeling pain after a year then your wrist will be fucked forever if you don't get surgery at some point. As said before the lack of blood to the schapoid makes it a tricky fracture to heal.

    Broke both my scaphoids numerous times skateboarding and never went to the doctor, thought I was spraining them and had weak wrists......eventually I went and sure enough they were non-union. Basically my body had given up on healing them so they were permanently broken......vascular transplants and bone-grafting on both wrists from the forearm. To combat the non-union state of that specific part of my wrist I had ultra-sonic soundwave therapy to re-stimulate the schapoid.......and now I have titanium pins in each schapoid. About 4-5 months complete healing time for each one, good as new!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rip
    I fell hard on my wrist a few weeks ago

    nurse said xrays didnt show anything,

    now its been a while, over a month,

    however I have very limited range of motion trying to move my thumb directly towards my forearm as if in a waving motion.

    I still am not at the point where I can put enough weight on it to do say a pushup without pain.

    I would say that another x-ray would be the thing to do. At least if it is negative you'll have peace of mind knowing that it is truely getting better. But if it is positive for a scaphoid fracture you'll be gald you got it checked out and will have possibly avoided any permenant injury. Win-Win situation if you get a second look.
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinman
    I would say that another x-ray would be the thing to do. At least if it is negative you'll have peace of mind knowing that it is truely getting better. But if it is positive for a scaphoid fracture you'll be gald you got it checked out and will have possibly avoided any permenant injury. Win-Win situation if you get a second look.

    Yeah, thats what I figured. Its just that I associate a broken bone with a little more pain than what I have, thanks for the response, hopefully it will be a waste of my time.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rip
    Its just that I associate a broken bone with a little more pain than what I have
    That is what typically gets peeps with undiagnosed scaphoid fractures in trouble.....

    For awhile the pain kind of goes away but not totally, then over a period of months or longer it starts getting worse. By that time it is usually too late.
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

    WhiteRoom Skis
    Handcrafted in Northern Vermont
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzo
    is that the "snuff box"? the slowest healing bone in the human body?
    thats the one. i broke that baby summer before my senior year at UMass. put an end to my rowing career since i was in a cast for 6 months. damn that was miserable. 8 weeks in a cast, cut it off, xray, put a new one on. repeat.

    when the doc came in and told me they were going to put the 3rd cast on i was about ready to pop him in the jaw just to show how strong the wrist was.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Ben Franklin

  15. #15
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    I haven't done anything as exciting as skiing, biking, or skate boarding, but I was rear-ended by a dump truck (loaded with gravel), then pushed into the back of a church van. My Passat TDI was totalled, my Rottie Jake was a bit shaken up, and I walked away with the expected pain and stiffness from being in a wreck. Now, 4 weeks later I am still having pain in my wrist. At first it was generalized ache, but now it has turned into a painful tenderness in the snuffbox region when touched. I had x-rays initially after the accident which were negative, then a second set last week that I'm still waiting on the results from. I've done some internet searches so know the potential problems that can occur if it is a scaphoid fracture, but don't want to be paranoid if it isn't.

    My question is this. How much pain with every day activities should I be expecting if it is a scaphoid fracture. I can type and do most things, but do have to favor my wrist if when doing any weight bearing activities. If my second x-ray comes back negative (from my general practitioner) should I force the issue and go to an orthopaedic surgeon? I would love some advice from those most familiar with this sort of thing - those who have lived through it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by String View Post
    Broke both my scaphoids numerous times skateboarding and never went to the doctor, thought I was spraining them .. and now I have titanium pins in each schapoid. About 4-5 months complete healing time for each one, good as new!
    Fractured broke both my scaphoids too 3 weeks ago and now I have titanium pins on each one and am wearing splints.. Since yours was a year ago, I was curious if you've had any side effects so far, wrists feeling great ? Can you do weights etc at the gym ?

  17. #17
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    I couldn't do any weights for over a yr after I injured my scaphoid (Dec injury). If they caught it right away it shouldn't be as long of a recovery. I had pins and marrow taken from my hip to help healing. Ask about the bone stimulator though. It provides a magnetic field to help blood to flow to the area since the blood supply is so poor. Besides, you sound like a true gimp right now so you wouldn't even notice it.

  18. #18
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    Mar 2007
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    fractured my scapohid about 7 years ago. instead of the surgery, i opted for the cast and bone stimulator. had a hard cast from wrist to bicep, with arm bent at about 90 degrees at elbow. had that thing on for the better part of 5 months. the bone stimulator was worn a certain number of hours per day. in the end, everything seemed to heal for the most part. still have the occasional soreness after a long mountain bike ride or if the wrist bends to the max unexpectedly.

    in my case, the big bummer was the amount of time i spent in this ridiculous cast. as was mentioned earlier....8 weeks, cut cast, xray, repeat....

  19. #19
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    Endo'd off my bike a few weeks ago and a few weeks later, my wrist still hurt. Went to the doc, x-rays showed nothing, he put me in a thumb-spiker cast for 2 weeks, got it off on Tuesday and x-rays still show nothing. He suspects a sprain but tonight I'm getting an MRI just to be sure; he says the MRI is the only way to tell for sure if I fractured the scaphoid, for reasons already mentioned in this thread.

  20. #20
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    In case anyone is unclear on what people mean by "snuff box" tenderness, check out this link. I think this has basically been said before, but to summarize..If you have snuff box tenderness, even if you have a negative (normal, no sign of fracture) x-ray, you need to be in a splint until either the tenderness is gone, or it is definitively diagnosed as a fracture and dealt with in some other way (such as surgery). If you get a repeat x-ray which is normal but you still have significant tenderness, you still need to be in a splint (at least until you are evaluated by an orthopedist, not a general practitioner).

    http://www.aafp.org/afp/20040901/879.html
    Last edited by wilcox510; 07-26-2007 at 02:00 PM.

  21. #21
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    Did mine 4 years ago. It will never be the same as it was before but it is getting better with time. I can actually do pushups now and I couldn't put that kind of weight on it for the longest time. My ER x-rays didn't show a fracture but my doc casted it anyway and said he was almost certain I had broken the scaphoid. X-rays after the cast removed showed he was right. I didn't need surgery, but it does still hurt when I grip things in just the right way or when I put all my weight on it.

    I boiled my thermometer, and sure enough, this spot, which purported to be two thousand feet higher than the locality of the hotel, turned out to be nine thousand feet LOWER. Thus the fact was clearly demonstrated that, ABOVE A CERTAIN POINT, THE HIGHER A POINT SEEMS TO BE, THE LOWER IT ACTUALLY IS. Our ascent itself was a great achievement, but this contribution to science was an inconceivably greater matter.

    --MT--

  22. #22
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    MRIs showed I have an incomplete scaphoid waist fracture. I'm in a short arm thumb-spica cast, supposedly for like 3 months. Going to talk to the doc today about surgery, which I believe is a minor procedure involving the installation of a compression screw, and would lead to a much faster recovery.

  23. #23
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    Nov 2006
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    Well.. Old topic, but on my mind. I broke my R-Scafoid (navicular) on 6/7. Was scheduled for Herbert screw surgery 6/23. Doc went in and found it was broken previously (I pretty much knew that) and was AVN. Bone graft and screw were done. Soft cast for the first week and then hard casted from palm and thumb to just below my elbow for 9 weeks. Doc says I may have to been in this POS for another 9 weeks and then a removable spica for a "couple" more weeks.
    Pulled out the dremel last night and set a rotary cut off blade to 1.5 mm. Wife said I cant do it. Should have a new cast today, but it will be next week as doc is only in the area on Mondays and today's a holiday. O-well, I'm going to snowmass to listen to music.
    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
    Voltaire

  24. #24
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    Update: got my cast off dec 18th ish. Still very weak. No ridding for me yet. 2 days on the snowmo. Using a stress ball, 5lb weight and gyro ball for rehab. Wrist still looks like a toothpick. Dr. said it could take a year to get back to where it was b4 the injury.
    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
    Voltaire

  25. #25
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    Any "my scaphoid healed quickly and properly" stories?

    I factured my scaphoid last week mountain biking in Whistler. Doc put me into a hard cast and seemed to suggest that if all went well I could be out of the cast and back on the bike in 6 weeks or so. But this thread has me a little worried.

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