Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ


I broke my wrist and it's healing with a hump. It makes my wrist and hand look like a humpback whale. Besides looking funny is there any real reason I should have it operated on?


Cosmetic appearance is always one thing to consider. Function is another. Humpback deformity of the wrist can occur when the scaphoid bone is fractured. The scaphoid is located on the thumb side of the wrist next to the radius (forearm bone).

If the fracture doesn't heal then the bone fragment can get displaced and move. When that happens all the other bones around the area also shift position. That's how you end up with a deformity.

Long-term studies show that wrist degeneration and eventual arthritis will occur. You may not have pain and disability now but the chances are good you will in time. According to the latest research you would be best advised to have the corrective surgery now. There are no long-term studies to prove this makes a difference. The advice is based on what we know happens if you don't correct the problem.

Kunihiro Oka, MD, et al. Patterns of Carpal Deformity in Scaphoid Nonunion: A 3-Dimensional and Quantitative Analysis. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. November 2005. Vol. 30A. No. 6. Pp. 1136-1144.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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