Boxer’s Fracture

Boxer's fracture

A Boxer’s fracture is a break to either the 4th or the 5th Metacarpals. These are the long bones on the outside of the hand. As the name indicates, punching a hard surface often causes it.


Symptoms of a boxer’s fracture

Boxer’s fractures usually result from punching something hard such as a wall or falling onto a fist. Symptoms include:

  • Instant severe pain on the outside edge of the hand
  • Rapid swelling & later bruising
  • Tenderness over the edge of the hand
  • Pain moving your hand

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 because they often result from punching something. This can be to a wall or other hard surface such as someone’s head. The bone breaks at the weakest area which is the neck, just below the knuckle.

Boxer’s fracture treatment

Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect a fracture. An X-ray confirms the diagnosis.

If the bone is not displaced then your doctor will immobilise it in a cast.

However, if the bone displaces out of alignment then your doctor may operate. They set the bone back into place and pin it.


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

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