Experience with SCAPHOLUNATE LIGAMENT Tear/Injury/Surgery?

Hello. I am 40 years old and I like to stay pretty active. For the last 5 years I have been training kickboxing/muay thai conditioning and bjj, along with weightlifting after (3 days a week). My whole life I have been pretty active with youth sports (mainly soccer). When I turned 18 I started weightlifting as I continued to play soccer less. I got into Crossfit before I went to the Navy in 2006 and it got me in the best shape of my life. So during my 20s and early 30s I mostly did weightlifting, Crossfit, running and occasional soccer. In my mid 30s I got into kickboxing/muay thai conditioning and bjj. I specify conditioning because I’m not really aiming to compete, just stay fit. Also, I narrowed my weightlifting to back squats, deadlifts, bench press, cleans, kettlebells, etc. For the past 3 years I’ve felt really good about my exercise routine because I feel physicially, mentally and emotionally healthy. My self esteem is pretty good. And, most importantly, I feel I have the time and energy to be a present and good father for my sons, as well as a husband for my wife.

I apologize for the extensive prologue but I hope it will give you a better understanding of my situation. About a month ago, I was training muay thai and I was hitting the heavy bag. As I mentioned earlier, I have been doing this for about 5 years so I am confident about my punching form. I am not a professional but I am competent. But, I will admit that I was complacent in this exact moment and threw a lazy jab, injuring my wrist. I continued to train and lift weights with slight pain for the next three weeks. During those three weeks, when I would train muay thai on the heavy bag I would baby my jab and I noticed slight improvement in my wrist. So I assumed that it was healing. Then, a week and a half ago I was doing boxer push ups on the mat to warm up for muay thai and I heard a pop in my wrist and the pain skyrocketed. The following day I made a doctor appointment and I got xrays done. My physician said that it appears that I have a SCAPHOLUNATE LIGAMENT TEAR because there is a 5mm gap between my wrist bones. He referred me to the orthopedic specialist and I have an appointment with them next week. These past weeks I have modified my training to just running 1-3 miles, hitting the heavy bag without using my left jab but left elbow instead, planking, back squats and crunches. That’s helped me not fall all the way into depression.

Now my query: Does anyone have any experience with this? I mainly want to know if the only solution is surgery to get back to what I used to do. I have been googling this and I am nervous and a little depressed about what I’ve been reading. 75% success rate. Decreased strength. Long recovery period (3-6 months). Limited physical activity. If I am smart and patient, can I return to my normal activity pre-injurty or close enough? Will I ever be able to punch a heavy bag, do push ups, bench press, deadlifts, bjj, etc?

This is it for now. I’m sure I will have more questions later but this is what my main concerns are right now. Thank you for your input.

@alessioguti, This is a common wrist injury. If there is a 5mm odd spacing, the doctor is likely right that there is a tear. There are a couple of things to consider before surgery, as I have seen significant sprains heal well for my athletes.

  1. Find a chiropractor or an osteopath who does extremity alignment well. Not all do! The carpals of the wrist are a lot like ball bearings which thus why the wrist has so much movement. However, they fit together like jigsaw puzzle pieces, so they have a very specific orientation that allows them to move well. So, an experienced extremity manipulator can help get the alignment returned.
  2. The inflammation can only really heal the tear if it remains stable. So, your strategy of not endangering it while training is excellent. Tape and wraps add extra support and aid in protecting it. Additionally, don’t do anything to reduce the inflammation. That’s what your body uses to create the scar tissue to make the new structure to reinforce the tear. Eventually, that tissue can become a new ligament through remodeling over time.
  3. I know regenerative medicine is not well accepted by all, but it has been a game-changer for situations just like this for my patients. I send all my patients with ligamentous instability to Centeno-Shults clinic in town or one of their Regenexx clinics outside Colorado. Links here:

Centeno-Shultz (Dr. Hyzy): https://centenoschultz.com/lone-tree/
Regenexx clinics around the USA: https://regenexx.com/locations/

They take the Platelets or the bone marrow from your own body and use it to build the tissue necessary to repair the ligament and other soft tissue needed to potentially avoid surgery.
One of the things I like about Dr. Hyzy here in Colorado is that he has been honest with my patients and sent them out for surgery when that is the best answer. The second or third opinion they can offer is at least recommended.

I hope this helps and can get you back to “full contact” soon. But be patient and heal well!