Wrist bone (scaphoid) injury

If we have seen you in the emergency department (A&E) for an injured wrist, you might need to have an MRI scan. This scan helps us to find if your wrist injury is a sprain, strain or fractured wrist bone (scaphoid).

If we suspect that you have a fractured scaphoid, these instructions are to help you manage your wrist injury at home.


  • keep your arm and hand elevated (raised) to reduce swelling
  • lift your arm above your head regularly, to keep your shoulder moving
  • bend and straighten your elbow regularly, to keep it moving
  • gently straighten and bend your fingers regularly, to keep them moving
  • try to use your hand for light everyday tasks, if this is not painful
  • wear any supportive splint that we have given you, if it helps
  • use ice wrapped in a towel for 5 to 10 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day, for up to 5 days. This reduces swelling and helps with pain. Be careful not to put ice directly on your skin because this can cause ice burns


  • do not use your injured wrist for any heavy lifting or gripping

Follow-up appointment

The emergency department arrange a telephone appointment. During this call, a doctor from the fracture clinic gives you the results of your MRI scan. They explain if you need any more treatment.

If you need to speak to someone about your follow-up appointment, please call the fracture clinic on 020 7188 7188, extension 89011.

When to get help

If your condition gets worse or you still have wrist pain 2 weeks after your injury, please contact the hand trauma unit. They can give you an appointment in the Friday morning clinic.

Phone: 020 7188 0953, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm

Resource number: 4827/VER3
Last reviewed: July 2021
Next review due: July 2024

Contact us

If we do not tell you when your MRI scan is before you leave the emergency department, you can contact the radiology department.To arrange your scan, phone 020 7188 5542

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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