Boxer’s Fracture of the Hand
A Boxer’s fracture refers to a break in the neck of the fifth metacarpal bone in the hand. This bone connects the small finger knuckle to the wrist. The term “Boxer’s fracture” comes from the fact that such an injury often results from punching a hard object with a closed fist, although it can also result from other types of trauma to the hand.
Symptoms of a Boxer’s Fracture:
- Pain and tenderness over the small finger side of the hand.
- Swelling and bruising.
- Deformity, such as a bump on the back of the hand. Sometimes the small finger will overlap the ring finger while making a fist.
- Limited range of motion of the small finger.
- Pain when making a fist or gripping objects.
1. Conservative Treatment:
– Immobilization: A cast, splint, or brace may be applied to keep the hand and wrist immobilized, allowing the bone to heal.
– Buddy Taping: The injured finger may be taped to the adjacent finger for support.
– Ice: Applying cold packs can help reduce swelling.
– Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can be used to alleviate pain.
– Elevation: Keeping the hand elevated can help reduce swelling.
2. Surgery: Surgical intervention is considered when:
– There’s significant displacement of the bone or rotational deformity of the small finger over the ring finger when making a fist.
– The fracture is open (skin is broken over the fracture).
– Conservative treatment is unlikely to yield satisfactory results.
Surgery typically involves realigning the fractured bone and holding them in place with pins, screws, or plates.
3. Rehabilitation: After the bone heals, physical or occupational therapy or hand exercises may be recommended to restore strength and flexibility to the fingers.
It’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a Boxer’s fracture or any other hand injury. Left untreated, or if not treated appropriately, it can lead to long-term complications like chronic pain, stiffness, and decreased hand function. At Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine we have hand surgeons who can provide specialized care for your exact condition.