How To Diagnose Scaphoid Fractures | Physical Therapy Evaluation
In today's episode we go over How To Diagnose Scaphoid Fractures | Physical Therapy Evaluation:
As physical therapists, we know the importance of accurate diagnosis when it comes to treating our patients. When it comes to scaphoid fractures, a proper diagnosis is crucial for ensuring proper treatment and avoiding long-term complications. No one likes a dead bone in their wrist and if we don't make the right call we may be leading our patients down a bad path...
The scaphoid bone is a small bone located in the wrist, and it can be easily fractured during a fall or other trauma. However, these fractures are often difficult to detect and can be easily missed on an X-ray. Folks training in the gym place a lot of stress on the wrist during movements like bench press, olympic lifts and during handstand skills. Often times the wrist becomes pretty irritated.
If a scaphoid fracture is not properly diagnosed and treated, it can lead to long-term complications such as chronic pain, reduced grip strength, and arthritis.
That's why it's important for physical therapists to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a scaphoid fracture, and to work closely with physicians to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Symptoms of a scaphoid fracture may include pain and swelling in the wrist, particularly in the area near the thumb. Patients may also experience difficulty gripping or holding objects.
If a scaphoid fracture is suspected, it's important to refer for medical attention and imaging right away. X-rays may not always show the fracture, so additional imaging such as a CT scan or MRI may be necessary.
So if you suspect a scaphoid fracture it's time to refer your patient to a physician...
Check out the video below to see how I like to evaluate patients for scaphoid fractures:
By working closely with physicians to ensure an accurate diagnosis and providing appropriate treatment, physical therapists can help patients with scaphoid fractures avoid long-term complications and return to training as quickly and safely as possible
No dead wrist bones!
- Dan Pope PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Show Notes / Relevant Articles:
- FPF Mini Course - 7 Reasons Why Injuries Happen in the Gym and What to do About it
- Physical Therapy Treatment for Wrist Pain | Olympic Lifting, CrossFit, Powerlifting
- The Best Physical Therapy Exercises for Golfer's Elbow [Medial Epicondylalgia]
- Evidence Based Guide to Tennis Elbow | Lateral Epicondylalgia, Epicondylitis, Tendinitis, Tendinopathy
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Dan Pope DPT, OCS, CSCS
- Bäcker HC, Wu CH, Strauch RJ. Systematic Review of Diagnosis of Clinically Suspected Scaphoid Fractures. J Wrist Surg. 2020 Feb;9(1):81-89. doi: 10.1055/s-0039-1693147. Epub 2019 Jul 21. PMID: 32025360; PMCID: PMC7000269.
- Mallee WH, Henny EP, van Dijk CN, Kamminga SP, van Enst WA, Kloen P. Clinical diagnostic evaluation for scaphoid fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Hand Surg Am. 2014 Sep;39(9):1683-1691.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2014.06.004. Epub 2014 Aug 1. PMID: 25091335.