The Snuffbox

Author: Fiona Mendes / Editor: Martin Dore / Reviewer: Fiona Mendes / Codes: / Published: 23/04/2022

Whilst working in the Emergency Department (ED), you are approached by a junior colleague who seeks your senior advice during his first twilight shift working in the ED.

He has seen a 16-year-old male who tripped on muddy ground whilst playing football and fell onto his outstretched left hand. He is right hand dominant. He is otherwise fit and well and has no other injuries. He has left wrist pain and reduced movement due to the pain. Radial and ulnar pulses are palpable and there is normal sensation over the radial, ulnar and medial nerves, to light touch.

After reviewing and examining the patient, you elicit anatomical snuffbox tenderness on palpation. You suspect that this patient has sustained a scaphoid fracture.

Your junior colleague then asks you to explain the location of the “anatomical snuffbox” and the clinical significance of “snuffbox tenderness”.

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