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?
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.