Wrist bone (scaphoid) injury advice

If you have been seen in the emergency department (A&E) for an injured wrist, you might need to have an MRI scan.

An MRI scan helps us know if your wrist injury is a sprain, strain, or fractured wrist bone (scaphoid).

These instructions are to help you manage your injury at home.


  • keep your arm and hand elevated (raised) to minimise swelling
  • lift your arm above your head regularly to maintain shoulder movement
  • bend and straighten your elbow regularly to maintain elbow movement
  • gently straighten and bend your fingers regularly to maintain finger movement
  • use your hand for light functional tasks as pain allows
  • wear any supportive splint that you have been given if it gives relief
  • use ice wrapped in a towel for 5 to 10 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day, for up to 5 days, to reduce swelling and help with pain. Be careful, as ice applied directly onto the skin can cause ice burns.


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

Follow-up appointment

A telephone appointment will be arranged by the emergency department. During this call, a doctor from the fracture clinic will give you the results of your MRI scan, and tell you if you need any more treatment.

If you need to speak to someone about this, please contact the fracture clinic, phone 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 for 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 you have not been told when your MRI scan will be before you leave the emergency department, you can contact the radiology department.

Phone: 020 7188 5542 to arrange your scan.

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Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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