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Navicular Fracture of the Wrist

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Overview

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Most likely, your doctor will order X-rays of your wrist. Sometimes an X-ray clearly shows a navicular fracture. Other times, an X-ray may not show signs of a fracture. If your doctor is not sure if your wrist is broken, he or she may refer you to an orthopedist, a doctor who specializes in bone problems. Because fractures can't always be seen right away, you may need a follow-up X-ray in 1 to 2 weeks. In the meantime, to prevent possible long-term problems, you will be treated as if you do have a fracture.

In some cases, other imaging tests such as MRIs, CT scans, and bone scans are used to look for navicular fractures.

How is it treated?

Treatment for navicular fractures includes wearing an arm cast or splint and sometimes having surgery. Even if the first X-rays do not show a fracture, your doctor still may treat you to prevent possible problems with healing.

Right after the injury, you may wear a splint because your wrist is too swollen to put a cast on. You may also wear a splint if it is not clear whether your bone is broken. For the first few days, your doctor may tell you to keep your wrist higher than the level of your heart and to use cold packs or ice to reduce swelling. He or she may also prescribe a pain medicine or suggest a pain medicine that you can buy without a prescription, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (for example, Advil or Motrin).

In some cases, after the swelling is gone, the splint will be removed and a cast will be put on. The cast will enclose your thumb and may extend above your elbow. Some people only need to wear a cast for 6 weeks, while others may have to wear a cast for several months. How long your wrist takes to heal depends on how serious your fracture is. Regular visits to your doctor will help you to know how well your fracture is healing and learn how to care for your splint or cast.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 11, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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