Kendall Marshall of UNC Suffers Likely Season Ending Wrist Injury
UNC celebrates making it to the Sweet 16, but sophomore point guard, Kendall Marshall suffered a scaphoid fracture in his wrist. Will he be back for the rest of the tournament?
The hand and wrist are made up of 27 bones. At the base of the hand, in the wrist, there are 8 bones. The scaphoid bone is a wrist bone that sits at the base of the thumb.
The scaphoid can be most easily recognized when one makes a “hitchhiker’s” sign. At the base of the thumb, a hollow is created. At the base of the hollow lives the scaphoid bone.
A fracture of the scaphoid is usually caused by a fall on an outstretched hand, with the weight focusing through the palm. This type of injury is seen in young adults, but can really happen in any group.
There are different types of scaphoid fractures. Those closer to the thumb do better, as the blood supply to this part of the bone is good. Those that are more central, or in the “waist” of the bone, or closer to the forearm may have more of a difficult time healing. This part of the bone has a poor blood supply and the bone may not heal.
Individuals who break the scaphoid will have pain, swelling, loss of motion, and bruising. Their can be pain in the “hollow” or “snuffbox”, difficulty with creating the “hitchhiker” posture, or pain with grip.
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE
If you suspect that you are suffering from a broken scaphoid, you should seek medical attention within a day or two of the injury. A physical exam and x-rays are usually performed. A CT or MRI scan at times may be needed.
Scaphoid fractures that are closer to the thumb may be successfully treated with a short arm cast that captures and immobilizes the thumb. The cast is usually worn for 6 to 8 weeks.
Scaphoid fractures that are at the waist of the bone or closer to the forearm can be problematic. Although a thumb immobilized cast can lead to healing, at times, this may not be enough. Since the blood supply to this part of the bone is poor, the bone may not heal. For this reason, often times, a surgical procedure is recommended.
Surgery is considered in scaphoid fractures that occur at the waist of the bone, closer to the forearm, or those fractures that have not healed. In any of these surgical situations, a screw is placed in the bone to hold the pieces of the bone together and optimize the contact between the pieces. A cast is still required and can be worm for 3 months or more.
Scaphoid fractures can be career ending for an athlete. These injuries can affect grip strength and motion. Occupational therapy is critical to regain motion and strength.
RETURN TO ACTIVITIES
From the current reports, it is unclear if Marshall will need surgery. It is unlikely for him to return for the rest of the tournament.
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