Exercises for a Scaphoid Fracture
Your wrist is comprised of eight bones called carpal bones. One of these bones is the scaphoid, or navicular, bone. This bone is the most commonly fractured bone of the wrist, usually caused by falling on the palm of the hand. Scaphoid fracture pain often worsens with gripping or squeezing. Consult your doctor about wrist exercises if you are recovering from a scaphoid fracture. Not all exercises may be appropriate for you.
Scaphoid fractures can be displaced or non-displaced. Non-displaced fractures are aligned properly and can be treated by casting your arm, hand and thumb. Displaced fractures are out of alignment, and you may need surgery to stabilize the fracture with pins or screws. Healing times can vary, but casting generally requires six to 10 weeks before any scaphoid fracture therapy or exercises can begin. Once the fracture is healed, rehabilitation exercises can get underway with your doctor's approval.
Stretching exercises are a key aspect of rehabilitation after a wrist fracture. It helps increase range of motion. Flex your wrist forward and hold that position for five seconds. Extend your wrist backward, and hold for five seconds. Repeat this motion 10 times for three sets. Side-to-side motion is valuable as well and should be done the same as the flexion and extension exercises.
The extension stretch is another exercise that will help rehabilitate your wrist. Place your hands directly on a table in front of you. Stand with your elbows straight and fingers flat. Lean forward and press the weight of your body on your wrists. Keep this position for 15 seconds, and repeat for three sets.
Strengthening exercises help build the muscle that was lost during the healing process. Hold your arm out directly in front of you with your palm facing upward. Hold on to a small weight, and bend your wrist up and then down. Do this movement for 10 repetitions, and then turn your hand over with your palm facing down. Hold the weight, and pull your wrist upward so your knuckles come at you and then back to starting position. Do this for 10 repetitions and repeat both movements for three times.
Another strengthening exercise can be done by putting your hand flat on a table and lifting one finger at a time. Hold each finger up for five seconds. After all fingers are completed, repeat for 10 sets.
To avoid further damage to your wrist, it is important that your doctor clears you to begin exercises. Do not begin strengthening exercises until stretching exercises have become painless. If pain increases or does not become less, contact your physician and quit exercises until he has had a chance to examine you.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Scaphoid Fracture of the Wrist
- American Society for Surgery of the Hand; Scaphoid Fractures; 2011
- "American Family Physician"; Diagnosis and Management of Scaphoid Fractures; T. Grant Phillips, M.D, et al.; September 2004
- Summit Medical Group; Navicular (Scaphoid) Fracture Rehabilitation Exercises; Tammy White, M.S., P.T., and Phyllis Clapis, P.T.; 2009
- Scaphoid Fracture of the Wrist, OrthoInfo, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, March, 2016.
Matt Berry is a radiologic technologist who started writing professionally in 2007. He specializes in health and medical articles and has been published in "Radiologic Technology." Berry holds a Bachelor of Science in radiology technology from Mount Marty College and is credentialed in radiography and computed tomography with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.