The weekend’s regrettable break: Boxer’s Fracture

Published: 28 Jan 2020

The weekend’s regrettable break: Boxer’s Fracture

Are you currently regretting what happened last weekend?  Have you found yourself with a swollen hand after “accidentally” punching the wall.  Maybe a heavy object fell on your hand? Perhaps you’ve sustained a “boxer’s fracture”.

Despite the name it is probably one of the least common injuries in professional boxing. Instead, the highest incidence of injury occurs in males aged 10-29, go figure.

What does it look and feel like?

A boxer’s fracture will present with pain, bruising, swelling around the knuckle of your pinky. You may also notice that it hurts to make a fist with the alignment of your pinky just not looking right. Your finger may look deformed and you will most likely have a lot of pain when touching the knuckle.

Boxer's Fracture

The hands of a young man after he presented with pain over the lateral aspect of the right hand.

If you think you may have sustained a Boxer’s fracture, the first port of call is an X-ray to assess the joint alignment and extent of damage. If a more complicated fracture is present a CT scan may be required.

Boxers Fracture

Fracture of the 5th metacarpal is usually apparent on x-ray.

If the x-ray or scan confirms this fracture of the 5th metacarpal, the initial management will be immobilisation for approximately six weeks. Although, this will depend on the x-ray results regarding the severity of the injury.

How is it treated?

Immobilisation of the wrist and fingers can be uncomfortable.  It will also reduce your ability to hold a phone, write using a pen and even eat use a knife and fork.  For the greatest support and comfort, one of our expert physiotherapists can custom design an immobilisation splint.  The most common splint for these injuries being an Ulna gutter splint.

Once appropriate bone healing time is over, our physiotherapists will then design and implement a tailored rehab program to ensure you regain your full function in terms of strength and range of movement of your wrist and fingers. This will allow you to return to your normal work and social activities without a fuss.

Boxer's Facture

An Ulna Gutter Splint can be much more comfortable for the management of a Boxer’s Fracture.

In more severe scenarios, we recommend that you visit an orthopaedic surgeon for review.  Surgical intervention may be indicated to assist recovery for those complicated fractures. However, this is not a common treatment approach for this type of injury.

If a boxer’s fracture has you out for the count, get in touch and we’ll have you fighting fit in no time!