I fractured the scaphoid bone near the base of my thumb, and the doctor wants to put a cast on it. Meanwhile, I'm having flashbacks to the cast I seemed to have worn forever in the second grade. Is there anything faster than this prehistoric treatment?

Casts--those old dinosaurs--are still around because they're safe and they work. However, newer treatments are equally effective and may not keep you tied up as long. You may want to ask your doctor about surgery to implant a screw into the broken bone. This procedure fixes the wrist from the inside, just as a cast fixes it from the outside. Research shows that people who have this procedure heal about five weeks faster than those who have casts. Surgery isn't for everyone, and this decision will need to be made jointly with your doctor.