Boxer’s Fracture: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

by Administrator 27. April 2016 12:23

Boxer’s fracture or Brawler’s fracture, refers to a break or crack in the metacarpal bones that form the knuckles of the hand.

There are 5 metacarpal bones in each hand with same structure (base, shaft, neck and head). The head of the metacarpal bone joins with the proximal phalangeal bone of each finger and forms the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint or the knuckles. A break or fracture in the neck part of the metacarpal bone is termed as a boxer’s fracture.

Though the fracture can be seen in any of the MCP joints, it most commonly affects the little and ring finger.

Causes:

  • Punching (a hard object)
  • Hand striking forcefully on an immovable surface

Symptoms:

  • Severe Pain
  • Swollen hand
  • Bruising or localised discoloration near the knuckles
  • Clicking or snapping sound at the time of injury
  • Painful movements of the hand
  • Limited range of movement
  • Misalignment of the bones when trying to make a fist
  • Open wound, in case of injury due to animal bite or hitting a sharp object
  • Little finger may bend inwards
  • Inability to bend or straighten the finger


Diagnosis:

A complete physical examination may reveal tenderness at the joint, misaligned bones, etc. X-ray or CT scan may be conducted to diagnose the severity of the fracture and identify the presence of any foreign body, in case of an open wound in the hand.

Treatment:

  • The initial course of treatment may involve:
  1. Ice packs to reduce the pain and swelling
  2. Immobilization
  3. Elevation of the hand
  • Splinting may be done to support the hand and allow the bones to heal.
  • Open fractures may require stitches to avoid any infection. The doctor may also remove any foreign objects present in the hand.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to ease pain and discomfort
  • After the swelling has subsides, physical therapy may help to restore the range of motion of the hand.
  • Antibiotics may be prescribed in case of an open wound or pus formation is noted in the hand.
  • Surgery may be needed if the metacarpal bone undergoes angulation, i.e. it moves from its normal position.

Dr. Allmon is a leading hand and wrist surgeon providing treatment for boxer’s fracture. To schedule an appointment with the Carrollton, TX based surgeon, call at (972) 492 – 1334.

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