The scaphoid bone, when injured, can cause pain and swelling at the base of the thumb, together with limited movement in the wrist joint as a whole.
What causes it?
The scaphoid bone is located at the base of the thumb and fractures commonly occur following trauma, such as a fall on to the outstretched hand. Despite the pain, a fracture may not be immediately obvious on an X-ray of the wrist.
How can I help myself?
In pain-limited cases, using splints can help and providing time to rest is important. Using analgesia can help reduce pain symptoms and PRICE can reduce swelling.
When to seek help?
If you are experiencing pain, limited movement and swelling around the base of the thumb following a fall, it is a good idea to consider getting an X-ray or assessment. If investigations are normal, but symptoms persist, it is good to request a follow-up at your local sports or orthopaedic clinic.
What are the treatment options?
If a fracture is not immediately obvious, your doctor may request an MRI scan of the wrist, as this can help identify the injury.
In situations where a fracture is identified, then they might treat it conservatively (i.e. with a cast) or in some situations, it can require surgical fixation.