The wrist contains a number of small bones called carpals. The hamate is a carpal bone on the outside (little finger side) of the wrist. It has a hook-shaped part which protrudes outwards and can under certain circumstances be fractured. With this injury, wrist pain occurs on the side of the little finger and the strength of grip can be reduced.
Symptoms of a hook of Hamate fracture
Symptoms of a fracture of the hook of hamate include wrist pain which is located on the little finger side of the wrist. The patient will have reduced grip strength and there will be tenderness when touching the palm side of the wrist.
A fracture of this part of the hamate bone in the wrist can occur from swinging a golf club, tennis racket or baseball bat particularly if it suddenly hits an immovable object, for example, a golf club hitting the floor. A stress fracture can also occur and if it goes unnoticed it can progress and turn into a full fracture.
Treatment of hamate fractures
Treatment usually involves immobilization in a plaster cast for 4 weeks. If the injury is noticed late then it is likely not to heal in which case the most popular option is to remove the fragment of bone completely followed by immobilization in a cast for 3 weeks. Return to sports specific training may take 6 weeks or more.
When the wrist comes out of the cast mobility and strengthening exercises should be done to restore full movement. Putty exercises and using hand exercise balls are excellent for achieving this.