The metacarpal bones are the five long bones in the hand. The 1st metacarpal is the most commonly fractured. This is the one under the base of the thumb.
Symptoms of a Fractured Metacarpal
- Sudden pain usually from an impact.
- Pain when trying to move the hand.
- Difficulty moving the hand.
- Swelling with usually develop.
- Bruising may appear.
- In a severe or displaced fracture the hand may appear deformed.
Fracture of the base of the first metacarpal can occur from punching a hard object such as a wall or someones head or from a fall onto a sticking out thumb.
There are two forms of fracture which may occur. A transverse fracture near the base results in the thumb being positioned across the palm of the hand. This should be reduced (re-positioned) and casted for 4-6 weeks.
A Bennett's fracture dislocation of the joint between the metacarpal and the carpals of the wrist is more serious and requires surgical treatment.
Fractures of the other four metacarpals can also occur from a punch. The 4th and 5th metacarpals are most commonly injured and this is known as a boxer's fracture. Treatment usually requires casting or splinting for 2 to 3 weeks.
Treatment of Metacarpal Fractures
Most metacarpal fractures which are straightforward without other complications are treated with immobilisation in a cast or splint for a period of 2-6 weeks.
More complex fractures or those with displacement may require surgery.
Rehabilitation of metacarpal fractures involves regaining strength of the intrinsic muscles of the hand. Items such as hand putty and therapy balls can be great for doing this. Buy hand therapy products at Return2fitness.co.uk.