A Bennett’s fracture is an injury to the base of the thumb joint. It is usually caused by a hard impact or trauma such as punching something hard or falling onto your hand, with the thumb sticking out to the side.
Symptoms will be similar to other wrist and hand fractures:
- Immediate and severe pain over the thumb side of the wrist.
- There will be rapid swelling and bruising may develop.
- The patient will find it very difficult to move the wrist and thumb.
- In more serious cases the thumb may appear deformed.
A Rolando fracture is also a fracture to the base of the 1st metacarpal where it joins the carpal bones between the thumb and the wrist, although a little more complex to treat as the metacarpal is fractured into several pieces.
What is Bennett’s fracture?
It is a fracture and dislocation of the joint at the base of the thumb. This is known as the first carpometacarpal joint, where the carpal bone of the hand connects to the metacarpal bone of the thumb.
With Bennett’s fracture, a small part of the metacarpal bone will remain attached to the volar ligament, whilst the main part of the bone is dislocated. It is similar to a Rolando fracture which is also a fracture to the base of the thumb but with more serious fragmenting of bones.
A Bennett fracture is a serious injury which if not treated correctly can cause permanent disability.
In particular, problems, when bringing the thumb across the palm of the hand and pinching with the index or middle fingers are common if the fracture does not heal properly.
- If you suspect a fracture of any bones in your hand then seek urgent medical attention immediately.
- Surgery will be required to ensure minimal or no long-term disability.
Bennett’s fracture surgery
Expert interview: Mr Elliot Sorene MBBS FRCS (Tr & Orth) EDHS Consultant Orthopaedic, Hand & Upper Limb Surgeon talks about surgery for Bennett’s Fracture.
This is a break of the trapezius bone in the wrist. It is a rare injury, occurring in less than 5% of carpal fractures. However, it often accompanies Bennett’s fracture. A CT scan is best for confirming the diagnosis. If the amount of bone displacement is great then it will need to be surgically repaired and pinned to avoid future complications.