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The scaphoid bone is situated in the wrist at the base of the thumb and is most commonly fractured during a fall onto an outstretched hand. The fracture is therefore common in contact sports and extreme sports such as skateboarding, rollerblading and snowboarding. Symptoms include a mild dull ache with swelling in the wrist at the base of the thumb, and a loss of grip strength. As the scaphoid bone has a poor blood supply this injury must be effectively treated to avoid prolonged symptoms.
Fracture of the Radius (Colles’ Fracture)
This is the most common of all fractures. This fracture will tend to occur as a result of a fall onto the wrist with the arm outstretched, forcing the wrist up and back. Symptoms include acute pain and swelling in the wrist which is aggravated by any wrist movement, if wrist movement is at all possible. The classic ‘dinner fork’ deformity is common where the displacement of the upper part of the radius in the forearm is displaced downwards causing the wrist and hand to resemble a dinner fork.
Early Injury Management
For approximately the first 72 hours following an injury, the RICE regime should be followed to ensure control of inflammation and pain relief.
R - Rest
I – Ice
C - Compression
E – Elevation
Rest from aggravating activity.
Ice should be applied in the first 72 hours or when inflammation persists. Ice should be applied for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin, but through a wet towel or cloth.
Compression can be achieved with an elastic bandage.
Elevation is used to help swelling to return to the heart through the blood stream.
The injured area should be elevated above the level of the heart.
Strengthening programs should only be commenced when:
Exercises should be 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
The taping technique below can be used following injury to limit the wrist joint range of movement. This may be useful when returning to sport follwing injury or to protect a repetitively injured wrist. Ensure you seek adequate advice prior to returning to sport following injury.