header advert
You currently have no access to view or download this content. Please log in with your institutional or personal account if you should have access to through either of these
The Bone & Joint Journal Logo

Receive monthly Table of Contents alerts from The Bone & Joint Journal

Comprehensive article alerts can be set up and managed through your account settings

View my account settings

Get Access locked padlock


Predictors of fracture following suspected injury to the scaphoid

Download PDF


A prospective study was performed to develop a clinical prediction rule that incorporated demographic and clinical factors predictive of a fracture of the scaphoid. Of 260 consecutive patients with a clinically suspected or radiologically confirmed scaphoid fracture, 223 returned for evaluation two weeks after injury and formed the basis of our analysis. Patients were evaluated within 72 hours of injury and at approximately two and six weeks after injury using clinical assessment and standard radiographs. Demographic data and the results of seven specific tests in the clinical examination were recorded.

There were 116 (52%) men and their mean age was 33 years (13 to 95; sd 17.9). In 62 patients (28%) a scaphoid fracture was confirmed. A logistic regression model identified male gender (p = 0.002), sports injury (p = 0.004), anatomical snuff box pain on ulnar deviation of the wrist within 72 hours of injury (p < 0.001), and scaphoid tubercle tenderness at two weeks (p < 0.001) as independent predictors of fracture. All patients with no pain at the anatomical snuff box on ulnar deviation of the wrist within 72 hours of injury did not have a fracture (n = 72, 32%). With four independently significant factors positive, the risk of fracture was 91%.

Our study has demonstrated that clinical prediction rules have a considerable influence on the probability of a suspected scaphoid fracture. This will help improve the use of supplementary investigations where the diagnosis remains in doubt.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr A. D. Duckworth; e-mail:

For access options please click here