Hook of Hamate Fractures

What is the Hook of Hamate?

Hook of Hamate Fractures

The hamate bone is one of eight small carpal bones located in the wrist. The hamate one is the wedge-shaped bone located on the outside of the wrist on the same side as your pinky finger. In describing the bone, we discuss two areas: the body and the hook. The projection on the side of the bone is called "the hook of hamate."

What Causes a Fracture to the Hook of Hamate?

The hamate bone is one of eight small carpal bones located in the wrist. The hamate bone is the wedge-shaped bone located on the outside of the wrist on the same side as your pinky finger. In describing the bone, we discuss two areas: the body and the hook. The projection on the side of the bone is called "the hook of hamate." Although both areas can be fractured, hook fractures are far more common than body fractures.

Symptoms of hook fractures include:

  • Pain (near the outside portion of the wrist) while pinching and/or gripping
  • Weakness of grip
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
The hook of hamate is susceptible to a fracture from a direct blow to the wrist or a stress fracture from overuse of the wrist. Hook of hamate fractures most often occur in athletes who play a sport that involves the swinging of an object like a baseball bat, a golf club, or a tennis racquet. The repetitive stresses placed on the wrist from gripping a racquet, bat, or club over time can cause a fracture. In uncommon situations, a fracture of the hook may be caused by a fall onto the wrist.

How is this Fracture Diagnosed?

Hook of hamate fractures are diagnosed through physical examinations and x-rays. Dr. Donnelly may place pressure on the wrist to pinpoint the location of the injury. If he suspects a fracture, Dr. Donnelly will order an x-ray, or in more difficult cases, a CT scan.

Treatment Options

Treatment of hook of hamate fractures depends on the severity of the fracture.

Nonsurgical

Non-displaced fractures (fractures where the fractured bone remains in place) may be treated through nonsurgical methods. Nonsurgical treatment consists of immobilization in a brace, splint, or cast. While immobilized, the fractured hamate bone is able to heal.

Surgical

Surgical treatment may be necessary to repair some hook of the hamate fractures. A typical procedure involves the removal of the fractured hook. In other cases, Dr. Donnelly may be able to move the injured bones to the proper position, fastening it with pins and rods to prevent displacement.

Recovery Time

Nonsurgically treated fractures usually heal within about six to eight weeks of immobilization. Following surgery, the patient may begin physical therapy after ten to fourteen days. Dr. Donnelly will determine when the patient may return to normal activity based on the severity of the initial injury.