A Boxers fracture is a break to either the 4th or the 5th Metacarpals which are the long bones on the outside of the hand.
Symptoms of a boxers fracture
Boxers 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 and moving the hand will be painful. The knuckle on the outside may appear dropped.
Fractures to these two bones are known as boxers fractures due to the most common cause of injury being a punch. This can be to a wall or other hard surface such as someones head. The stress through the bone causes a break in the weakest area which is the neck of the bone, just below the knuckle.
Boxers 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. If however the bone is displaced or out of alignment then it may need to be set and held in place with pins, which requires surgery. See Boxers fracture surgery for an interview with specialist wrist and hand surgeon Mr Elliot Sorene.