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I fractured my scaphoid and had my wrist in a cast for the past 3 weeks. Today I had the cast removed and the doctor said this sort of fracture usually heals itself well and that I would recover 100% movement of the joint.

I'd like to get back to doing sports again right away but what if anything can I do to avoid straining or causing further injury to my wrist?

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Sounds like a question suited more for a doctor, or maybe even a judgment call on your part based on how you feel. –  Usedtobefat Jun 21 '12 at 18:36
    
I am not really asking for a medical opinion, just advice on preventing further injury to my wrist while it recovers, if that is possible. –  z7sg Ѫ Jun 22 '12 at 21:40
    
It's all about managing risk, and only you are in the position to make that judgement call. How important is it to you that you recover 100%, or start sports right away, or avoid injury? We can't answer these questions for you. –  user3085 Jun 24 '12 at 16:59
    
But that's the only way this question can be answered. We can't do it for you. –  user3085 Jun 25 '12 at 14:45
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Then, please edit your question, because right now, you state two conflicting goals: returning to activity as soon as possible, and avoiding injury. As currently worded, we can't answer this question. –  user3085 Jun 25 '12 at 16:34
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4 Answers

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You are wise to ask because this is an injury that you want to heal well. 3 weeks is not very long into the healing of a fracture.

Most references that I looked up tell you that your therapist will direct your safe return to activity. A PT (physical therapist) or OT (occupational therapist) who specialize in hands (hand therapist) are the best ones to advise you. I would ask them for advice about pressure on your hand, wrist and thumb when holding on to the handlebars or braking. I would also ask what type of splint they recommend that can give you protection during activities until fully healed. It is well worth a visit. In most states you can go directly to the therapist and don't need your doctor to refer you. Do take your xrays.

The Sports Injury Bulletin states:

The end point of treatment must be the same as for other fractures, ie, radiographic and clinical union, to allow full function and prevent post-traumatic arthrosis. In athletes, however, it is necessary to ensure a rapid return to participation in sports. For an undisplaced scaphoid fracture the average union rate is approximately 90% with a healing time of 9-12 weeks

Maybe the safest thing to do at this point is spinning. You won't have to worry about falling off and re-injuring and you can maintain your fitness for cycling.

The AAOS, American Association of Orthopedic Surgeon's site, OrthoInfo points out that fractures of the scaphoid at different locations require different treatments and recover differently. They recommend that during healing you should:

Avoid heavy lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, or throwing with the injured arm

Do not participate in contact sports

•Do not climb ladders or trees

Avoid activities with a risk of falling onto hand (for example, inline skating, jumping on a trampoline)

Best of luck.

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The doctor said ... that I would recover 100% movement of the joint.

In the context of your question, this provides us with little help. The fact that you will, at some point, fully recover is not to say that you are fully recovered as of this present moment. In fact, considering that your original question included the wording "my wrist still feels weak" leads me to believe that you are not, in fact, fully recovered from the injury. For athletes, the most important thing to prevent reinjury is allowing for full recovery before becoming fully active. This brings me to my first recommendation:

Ask a doctor

I cannot stress how important it is to solicit professional medical advice when dealing with an injury. Go back to your doctor and ask their opinion. Additionally, I'd recommend going one step further and consult with a physical therapist who would probably be a lot more knowledgeable about both recovery and prevention.

Physiotherapy

Like I said, you should consult with a physical therapist if you wish to fully recover from this injury. This is especially important when crafting a exercise recovery plan, as some wrist exercises may be well-suited for others but not for yourself. If, for whatever reason, you cannot engage a PT to assist, here are some starting points that I'd recommend:

  • Taping or bracing of injured area
  • Reduced activity load on injured area (i.e. don't be doing 100kg hammer curls with your bad wrist)
  • Gradual reintegration with sports. Take it slow, and gradually increase activity as your wrist heals.
  • Exercises to improve injured area. Specifically, these include wrist bends, wrist side bends, squeezes (tennis/stress ball work best), and forearm rotations. You should typically do these 10-12 reps/exercise at 2-3 sets/day. If you are experiencing pain with any of these exercises, you should stop immediately.
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Do controlled exercises until you can get your injured wrist back to the same, or very close to, strength and range of motion of your uninjured wrist. Do light activity that gets you back into using your injured wrist - that could be as simple as playing video games or music for 10-15 minutes, cooking food, kneading bread (if you don't make your own bread, you could always learn how). For exercises I would suggest sticking to dumbbells to start with, and start off at 5lbs with low reps just to get used to going through the motions, and steadily increase the weight until you feel you're at a point where it's a bit more difficult, then slow your rate of increase. The idea is to aim low to start and work your way up until you've figured out what your wrist can handle.

I would avoid doing any sport that's unpredictable (tennis, soccer, wrestling) until you're fully or close to fully recovered doing something predictable, like lifting weights.

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You don't state what activity you do as a primary one. That will have a bearing on what you can/should be doing with the wrist. Every sport is going to have it's risks while still healing.

For instance, running you could fall, swimming is obviously out, same with cycling unless you're in aero bars on a TT bike.

There's nothing to say that you can't get some Ace wraps and splint the wrist while exercising, unless for some reason you need that wrist to be mobile, in which case I'd recommend waiting at least until it doesn't feel weak.

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