CUH NHS 75th birthday logo

Scaphoid fractures

Patient information A-Z

What is a scaphoid fracture?

A scaphoid fracture is a break in one of the small bones in the hand. This type of fracture occurs after a fall onto an outstretched hand. Symptoms of a scaphoid fracture typically include pain and tenderness in the area just below the base of the thumb.

Scaphoid fractures

Scaphoid fractures sometimes, but not always, show up straight away on x ray. You might have a clinic appointment made 10-14 days after you were first seen in A&E to re x-ray your hand and wrist

Whilst your injury is healing your hand and wrist might be placed in a removable splint or cast.

Swelling and bruising at the injury site is normal. Simple, over the counter pain killers and applying ice to the area will help to reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied, wrapped in a tea towel, for 20 minutes three to four times a day.

You should:

  • keep the splint on at all times – if you have been given one – even at night. it can be removed for hygiene reasons.
  • keep your fingers moving while wearing the splint or cast to prevent your fingers becoming stiff.
  • elevate your hand in the days following your injury to help reduce swelling.
  • remove any rings or jewellery on the affected hand.

You should not

  • stick anything down the cast or get the cast wet, if you have one.
  • take part in any physical contact sports, as guided by your consultant at your clinic appointment.
  • miss your clinic appointment if this has been requested.

Please remember:

Please contact your GP if your condition is not improving, or if your pain relief is not adequate.

If your condition is worsening please contact the Multi professional fracture clinic on 01223 348299 or 01223 257095.

For more information please visit Fracture Info

For any concerns on wounds email:

Please include your hospital number and any photos of your wounds that you would like to be reviewed.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151