Scaphoid fractures are a frequent consequence of a trip, slip or a fall. As a result, personal injury claims for compensation arising from the fracture of the scaphoid bone are relatively commonplace. However, for reasons that we will describe here, these types of claim, although common, are not always straightforward.
Where is the Scaphoid Bone?
The scaphoid bone is one of the bones in the wrist. It is situated just beneath the thumb. It is one of the smallest of the eight separate bones that form the wrist. Each of these small bones is named a “carpal” bone. These bones are each connected to the wrist and the fingers by ligaments.
How Do You Break Your Scaphoid Bone?
The scaphoid bone is most often fractured as a result of a fall onto the palm of the hand. Other causes include a blow to the palm of the hand or, in less frequent cases, from repeated strain on the bone itself. Scaphoid fractures can be either displaced or undisplaced, meaning it can either crack or separate into two separate pieces.
Consequences of a Scaphoid Injury
The most common symptom of a scaphoid injury is pain around the region of the wrist, which is sometimes (although not always) accompanied by localised swelling. It is difficult to be too precise about the severity of the pain and the extent of any swelling, although they tend to accord with the exact nature of the fracture and the physical condition of the individual who has sustained it. As a general rule, however, the level of the pain is likely correspond with the seriousness of the fracture. After a time, the fracture may also result in a restriction in the ability to move the wrist.
Scaphoid fractures can be difficult to diagnose, sometimes not showing up on an x-ray. The longer the fracture goes undiagnosed the more serious (and long-term) the damage is likely to be. In more serious cases, an undiagnosed, untreated scaphoid fracture may result in permanent disability, restriction in the movement of the wrist and other adverse consequences, including the early onset of osteoarthritis.
The nature of the treatment that you will receive if you are diagnosed with a scaphoid fracture is determined by the nature of the fracture itself. For an undisplaced fracture it is likely to involve the fitting of a plaster cast from the wrist to the elbow. A displaced fracture may require surgical intervention involving the insertion of a pin or screw into the bone to keep the two displaced segments together. Follow up treatment may involve physiotherapy to help to recover the full range of movement and strength in the wrist joint.
Because of some of the complications in diagnosing a scaphoid fracture and the potential long term consequences to anyone who has sustained this type of injury, this type of personal injury compensation claim can be quite challenging. If you suspect that you have sustained a scaphoid fracture as a result of an accident that was not your fault, you should immediately consult an experienced personal injury solicitor. He or she will be able to advise you, not only about the merits of your case but also on any procedures that might be undertaken to help with the diagnosis of your injury.