Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ

Question:

I broke the bone at the base of my thumb. I'm probably going to need a cast. The problem is my job requires the use of my hands to pull sheets of taffy off a machine. Will I be able to still do this with the cast on?

Answer:

Fracture of the scaphoid bone at the base of the thumb usually requires casting for six to eight weeks. Patients are advised to avoid twisting motions or any activity that could result in a fall onto the outstretched hand.

It may be possible to get what's called a functional cast. The elbow and thumb are left free to move. The wrist is put in a position of slight extension (cocked back a little). This position allows most people to perform daily activities.

Your doctor may advise against the gripping and pulling required by your job during the early days of healing. It would be a good idea to let the doctor know your work needs. Ask about a functional cast and any limits on motion or activities based on your injury.

J. J. Dias, MD, FRCS, et al. Should Acute Scaphoid Fractures Be Fixed? In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. October 2005. Vol. 87-A. No. 10. Pp. 2160-2168.

*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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