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A broken wrist commonly occurs following a fall on an outstretched hand. A Capitate fracture accounts for around 2% of all wrist fractures. The Capitate is one of the eight small Carpal bones that make up the wrist complex. Isolated Capitate fractures can occur but, more often, Capitate fractures occur together with fractures of another Carpal bone - the Scaphoid.
Because the Capitate has a poor blood supply there are sometimes complications with the healing process. This may manifest itself as a diffuse ache in the wrist upon activity, and can persist for many months. This is due to a breakdown of the Capitate caused by the lack of blood supply and healing (Avascular Necrosis). If these symptoms persist for more than six weeks it is likely that the bone hasn't healed and the patient should return to the treating doctor.
The wrist is immobilized in a cast or Wrist Brace whether or not there is surgery for the Capitate fracture. Once the cast has been removed the patient begins physiotherapy treatment to regain range of movement of the wrist joint and strength in the muscles that work over the wrist. Exercises using Therapeutic Putty, Hand Therapy Balls and Finger & Grip Strengtheners can add strength to the muscles around the wrist and resolve wrist swelling. In the period following the removal of the plaster it may be helpful to wear a Supportive Splint when not doing the exercises.
Common Broken Wrist signs & symptoms: