How do you get a boxer’s fracture?
You don’t have to be Mike Tyson to sustain a boxer’s fracture. This injury is aptly named because the basic mechanics that cause it to occur are similar to the force sustained by a boxer’s punch. If you sustain a high impact to by punching something harder than the hand or falling in a manner where the large knuckles of the hand bear the brunt of the force, you may sustain a boxer’s fracture. The metacarpal bones, which form the intermediate part of the hand’s structure, may break at their narrowest point near the end, or “neck”.
How to tell if I have a boxer’s fracture
- Pain, swelling, or redness in the affected area
- Dark discoloration or bruising
- Difficulty or inability to make a fist without pain
- Snapping or popping sensations, or other physical deformity
How to diagnose a boxer’s fracture
A hand surgeon will perform a physical examination to determine the orientation of the fracture and its effect on rotation of the finger. X-ray images of multiple planes of the hand will confirm the fracture.
How to treat a boxer’s fracture
A doctor may set the bone with or without the use of pins or other hardware. In some cases, pins may be necessary to prevent the bone from falling back after being set. Casting or splinting the break with serve to immobilize the area to prevent the bones from falling out of place, and it will also protect the hand from further trauma as healing continues. It is important to follow your physician’s instructions, have the break repaired quickly, and follow up with whatever therapy is recommended after the casting is removed. Typically, patients experience good results with little to no long-term adverse effects. If the injury is not treated promptly by a trained hand surgeon, a permanent bend may result in the middle knuckle of the finger. Instability and weakness in gripping may also be present if left untreated. Complete return to sport or function is typical within a few weeks after internal fixation.