Boxer’s Fracture

Boxer's fracture

A Boxer’s fracture is a break to either the 4th or the 5th Metacarpals which are the long bones on the outside of the hand. As the name indicates, this injury is usually caused by a hard impact against the hand, like a punch.

Symptoms of a boxer’s fracture

  • Boxer’s fractures are usually caused by punching something hard such as a wall or falling onto a fist.
  • The patient will experience instant severe pain in the hand at the time of injury with swelling developing quickly possibly followed by bruising.
  • The outside edge of the hand where the fracture is will be particularly tender to touch.
  • Attempting to move the hand will be painful.
  • The knuckle on the outside may appear dropped.

What is a Boxer’s fracture?

Boxer's fracture

Fractures to these two bones are known as boxer’s fractures due to the most common cause of injury being a punch. This can be to a wall or other hard surface such as someone’s head. The stress through the bone causes a break in the weakest area which is the neck of the bone, just below the knuckle.

Boxer’s fracture treatment

  • Medical attention should be sought immediately if a fracture of the hand is suspected.
  • An X-ray can confirm the diagnosis.
  • If the bone is aligned still then it may just be immobilized in a cast or splint to allow the bone to heal and most will heal without further problems.
  • However, if the bone is displaced or out of alignment then it may need to be set and held in place with pins. This requires surgery.


Mr. Elliot Sorene MBBS FRCS (Tr & Orth) EDHS Consultant Orthopaedic, Hand & Upper Limb Surgeon explains surgery for Boxer’s fracture of the hand.

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.
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