The scaphoid is a small bone in the wrist that is located at the base of the thumb at the point where the wrist bends. The most common cause of a scaphoid fracture is a fall in which the person catches himself with an outstretched hand. The pain from a scaphoid fracture may range from minor to severe, and it is often accompanied by swelling. Many people who experience minimal symptoms may mistake the injury for a sprain and not seek medical treatment. However, without proper treatment, the bone may fail to heal, and some of the bone fragments may die because of inadequate blood supply.
Non-displaced fractures of the scaphoid may respond well to stabilization with a cast that covers the hand and forearm. If the fracture is closer to the thumb, it usually has enough blood supply to heal properly with a cast. Scaphoid fractures that are displaced or occur closer to the forearm may not have enough blood supply and could require surgery, which involves reconnecting the bone pieces with screws. A bone graft may also be performed at the time of surgery to promote healing.