Fracture of carpal bone in the wrist


(Fractura ossis scaphoidei)

The wrist bones consist of 8 carpal bones (ossa carpi), which along with the forearm bone (ulna) and the radius form the wrist. There are furthermore 5 metacarpus bones (ossa metacarpi) and a total of 14 finger bones (phalanges).

  1. Os lunatum
  2. Os triquetrum
  3. Os pisiforme
  4. Os hamatum
  5. Phalanx distalis
  6. Phalanx media
  7. Phalanx proximalis
  8. Os metacarpale II
  9. Ossa sesamoidea
  10. Os trapezoideum
  11. Os trapezium
  12. Os capitatum
  13. Os scaphoideum
  14. Carpus


Cause: In case of blow or a fall where you attempt to protect yourself with the hand, a fracture can occur on the carpal bone on the thumb side, also called the navicular bone (os scaphoideum). Due to a poor blood supply to the bone a slow and complicated healing often occurs. For this reason it is crucial that treatment starts immediately after the fracture has occurred.

Symptoms: Sudden pain in the wrist on the thumb side following a fall or blow. The pain is aggravated by maximal movement in the wrist. The symptoms are often so modest that the athlete does not immediately consult a doctor. Many athletes misinterpret the symptoms as a sprained wrist, which can delay treatment and have unfortunate consequences in the long run.

Acute treatment: Click here.

Examination: Everyone with sudden powerful pain in the thumb side of the wrist, after a fall or blow, should always be examined by a doctor. In X-rays the fracture can usually (but not always) be seen. It can therefore be necessary to repeat the X-ray examination 14 days later, before a fracture can be ruled out with certainty.

Treatment: Plaster cast (article).

Rehabilitation: Once pain has decreased, fitness training in the form of cycling and running can be resumed according to the guidelines under rehabilitation, general. When the cast is removed rehabilitation of the hand and the arm can be started. Blows with the hand (boxing and similar activities) should be avoided for an additional couple of months.

Bandage: Individual plastic bandages can be manufactured for use during sports activity after bone fractures.

Complications: In the vast majority of cases the fracture heals without complications. In some a very slow healing may occur, causing a long break from sports activity. In other cases a decomposition of the bone (avascular bone necrosis) occurs, which increases the risk of degenerative arthritis changes in the carpus. It is not rare for a false joint (pseudoarthrosis) to form due to lack of healing (article). The risk of complications is greatest when the treatment is commenced a long time after the fracture occurred.
In case of lasting wrist pain and lack of progress you should therefore consult your physician again, despite earlier normal examination.

Specielt: As there is a risk that the injury can cause permanent disability, all cases should be reported to your insurance company.