Has Anyone Here Broken Their Scaphoid?

I was just getting started out on a training ride yesterday, when I got distracted and hit a pothole in the ground. It was the oddest fall I’ve had in that I got flung to the ground, was unable to roll and therefore, all the pressure of the landing went through my left arm and wrist.

At first, because my road rash wasn’t bad at all and I didn’t feel anything abnormal in my arm, I kept riding. At some point, once the shock subsided (I kinda fell in the middle of the intersection, with a bus maybe 15 seconds away) I noticed a (I’m not sure if it’s dull or sharp. If sharp is the feeling of someone poking you with a meat cleaver, then it’s dull) aching pain originating from the thumb side of my wrist when I bent my wrist, and far enough back that’s it’s closer to my arm than my hand. I then began to poke around the area, and I only experienced pain when I target what seemed to be the scaphoid, all other areas were fine. If I press straight down near the tendon that runs down close to the center of the hand, I get a sharper pain that is very focused. I also observe this if I put my hand in the hitchhiking position and press on the tendon gap that the thumb makes. The base of my thumb is also swollen.

I’ve done my research and these are telltale signs of a scaphoid fracture, but I don’t seem to have constant pain from it. I’ve never broken a bone before, so I don’t really know what to expect. Should the pain be constant? I mean, it aches every once in awhile when I’m just laying around, not doing anything with it, but nothing close to what I expected. For example, it is starting to ache right now, but it only feels like I got a tetanus shot.

While researching I also learned that scaphoid breaks may also go along with a radius fracture on the very end of the bone. Sure enough, I have pain and swelling just before the elbow, around the end of the forearm. In this case it hurts to move my arm in general.

I’m asking these questions mostly because I’ve never really experienced anything like this from my UPDs. When I fall I usually get road rash, and that’s the end of it, and road rash really isn’t that bad. But because of how I landed in this UPD, I think it’s necessary to see if any of you have had anything similar.

I’m holding out on going to a doctor until at least a week, because X-Rays might not show a fracture until it’s begun healing, and I don’t want to get an MRI. Also because I want to make sure that the pain doesn’t subside quickly, making a fool of myself.

Statues and Limitations,

You’re going to wait a week until it starts to heal, gosh what a great idea, that way if there’s nerve damage or the potential for hemorrage, you can get those seen at the same time :roll_eyes:

You must be a young med student, only someone who thinks they know about medicine would try to self diagnose. Better yet, asking a bunch of anonymous unicyclists for help, truly awesome.

Okay, so you want some free professional medical advice:

Go to the ER and get an xray.

Like I said, X-Rays in the wrist (ESPECIALLY right after the break) often show no abnormalities. Try re-reading my post, it might answer your questions.

With proper research, you can easily make a self-diagnosis, or at least an educated guess at one.
I know what nerve damage feels like, this isn’t it.
About the asking anonymous unicyclists, I’m asking if anyone here HAS had a fractured scaphoid, so that I can compare my symptoms with theirs and they could tell me about their experience with it. I’m doubtful when it comes to my diagnosis because the pain isn’t constant and there is very minimal swelling, although I have read accounts of people that did have a broken wrist with no swelling. Also, for what it’s worth, every time YOU hurt yourself I bet thoughts about what happened run through your mind, and you might just make a self diagnosis. It’s human nature, we always want to know. I’m not just going to sit around like a bum and not figure out what it is.
And about your hemorrhage thought, I’m fairly certain there would be noticeable bruising.

Anything else you want to be a smart ass about? I thought not.

I do have other things that I want to be a smart ass about so I will be brief here.

Why don’t you go see a doctor? Many times injuries (and especially breaks) are harder to treat the longer you wait.


“Better yet, asking a bunch of anonymous unicyclists for help, truly awesome.”

Hey . . . . I think you might be onto something there Ben: Maybe Gilby needs to add another section to the forum for free anonomous medical diagnosis? You moderate and I’ll add answers that I find in obscure on-line medical journals. . . . . Say that reminds me that I suspect that I have a really bad case of Klinefelters syndrome from a hard hit to the tailbone. Do I need to get it treated? Anyone have any thoughts? What should I do?


That I can agree with. But if I go too early, they may not find anything and it will be dismissed as a wrist sprain. Regardless of that I suppose they could put me in a cast, just in case, and then go in for another x-ray later.

And Brycer, I do hope you’re kidding. Klinefelter’s Syndrome starts prenatally due to a screw up with the chromosomes, nondisjunction, during meiosis. It’s actually pretty common in males… and you can’t get it by falling.

I hear the thing to do is to ride unicycles naked as often as possible.

Not so much, but I was wondering why you don’t seem to want an MRI?

Also, are you in the medical profession? I’m guessing Nurse Ben is. How old are you? And last but least, are you not attending NAUCC? It’s basically right in your face, but your posts seem unrelated to that big event going on in your town…

Milo, I am a Nurse Practitioner, so though I may come across as a smart ass, I am also a well educated smart ass, so maybe I know something that you don’t :roll_eyes:

I’m actually not attending NAUCC. Not sure why, it just doesn’t interest me. I also don’t particularly like crowds.

I would prefer to avoid an MRI, because it’s pretty boring, if you move you have to sit there for even longer and the noises are obscene. Obviously I’d be willing to do an MRI if it’s necessary or the doctor recommends it, but if possible I’d prefer not to.


I’m kind of the same way with injuries and illness. Too many times the doctors seem clueless or just come to the same exact conclusion I did. But…

For me, a quick sanity check is this. If I watched my 7 year old kid fall like you did, and is now has the symptoms like you… would I hesitate to take her in and get xrays? Hell no. Even if it means going back in a week and spending money and time again. Treat yourself right. Keeping your health and functioning well is number one!

Kilnefelters, I wondered if that was the problem :smiley:

Self diagnosis and making an educated guess, all from doing some reading on the internet, pretty much par for the course.

I see folks like this every day, think they already know as much as their provider, come in pre diagnosed, makes my job soooooo much easier :roll_eyes:

Hey bright boy, the nerve damage and bleeding would come from a displaced bone fragment, it could be sudden and could be long lasting, ie nerves don’t heal as fast as a slighted ego.

Oh, and since you did the required class reading, please review page one where, just below the “wait one to two weeks for a definitive xray” it says “splint the wrist until a fracture is ruled out”.

But hey, why trust me, I’m just another anonymous unicyclist :stuck_out_tongue:

A. I know where nerve damage and hemorrhaging would come from. I am aware that nerves don’t heal quickly, I am also dealing with a herniated disc right now.

B. I don’t see why you seemingly hate your patients simply because they opted to go learn about whatever happened to them, and gain an opinion for themselves so that they knew what to expect before seeing a doctor. I see no problem with that.

C. It IS in a splint. I’m also icing it for 20 minutes every so often.

D. Are you trying to say that most reading on the internet is rich with wrong things? Because you haven’t helped ONCE, and you also haven’t said that my symptoms DON’T fit with a scaphoid fracture.

E. If you’re not going to do anything useful, I would appreciate your leaving of this thread.

My, my, my. How about if we all take a nice slow deeeeeeep breath and think about how we all have much more in common than our differences. Let’s all remember that deep down in our hearts we really do want our fellow unicyclists to have long happy healthy lives.

Take a minute or two to do this.

That’s OK, I’ll wait…

There, now don’t we all feel better?:):):):):):):slight_smile:

So, Milosboy, you hurt your wrist. Bummer. I’m NOT going to diagnose your problem. Nope, not a bit. I’m not going to even give you my hunch. That would be irresponsible. What I will say is that scaphoid fractures can be more problematic than some other wrist bone fractures. If a scaphoid bone gets fractured (remember, I’m not saying that your scaphoid is or is not fractured) there is a possibility that the blood supply to half of the fractured bone could become dramatically impaired (as in stopped) and at this point that portion of the bone starts to die. If this is caught early enough a surgeon can pin the two bone fragments together which will increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Favorable, as in, half of the scaphoid bone doesn’t become necrotic.
An x-ray, even though it is not a perfect test, can detect many of these severe scaphoid fractures. Waiting a week before getting an x-ray may be a delay that makes the difference between a favorable and not favorable outcome.
I just thought you might want to know.


I have broken a scafoid. I fell on the Minnesota ride while going down a hill at about 15mph, while reading a book, I hit a drainage ditch and took a tumble. Lots of blood etc. was a cool fall.

I was in pain, but nothing horrendous. I faint when pain is bad and I was nowhere near doing that. So I just carried on with the ride assuming it was just a sprain.

It was after about 6 weeks that I went to the doctors because it was not getting better, in fact it did get worse; but I was putting a new floor down in the loft and with all that hammering I guess I irritated it. It was not swollen at all.

Anyway, the doctor did a simple check to see if it was scafoid break. If you relax you hand with your fingers slightly open you will see coming from your thumb 2 tendons. If you press in between the 2 tendons on the hand side of the main wrist joint… and if the pain is immense you have broken your scafoid! So the doctor said. He was right. I was in cast for almost 6 months in total because it did not knit. In the end I had surgery and I have a Herbert screw in it.

My advice would be go get it x-rayed as soon as you can and then you know what it is. :slight_smile:

Hope it gets well soon.


Mmmhmmmm. And that is why I have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow. If it is severe enough the X-Ray will pick it up, and if I don’t go I end up with severe complications. I wouldn’t want non-union, and going as early as possible decreases the odds of it.
Thank you for posting something useful.

I’m NOT wanting to take sides on this discussion, but an xray is only as good as the person reading it. Many years ago, I dislocated my right shoulder and was in EXTREME pain. A quick visit to the ER and a few xrays revealed NOTHING! They said I probably just had a bad sprain and prescribed some pain killers :roll_eyes: After taking some serious medication for the pain, I managed to make it through the night.
The next morning, I stood in front of a mirror to do a self exam and noticed that my right elbow was pointing away from my body instead of pointing to the rear.
I got lucky and scheduled an appointment with a ortho doctor that morning and he reset my shoulder. He was amazed that 2 ER docs couldn’t properly diagnose something so obvious, especially since they also examined the xrays :astonished:
Duh, elbow facing wrong way, maybe there IS something wrong with this guy!!!

What kind of safety gear were you using when this happened?

Hi Milo,

I’m not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be one on TV. I am very sorry for your injury, I wish I could help but I have not had such an injury and cannot offer you advice; However just for sake of information to the community, what kind of safety gear were you using when this happened?

Thank you and best wishes for a speedy recovery,


Oh wait… is that insensitve? :o


I was wearing my helmet and my gloves. I don’t own knee or elbow pads, but I do own wrist guards which I primarily use when I am learning new skills.
I should probably wear the wrist guards once I heal up.