A boxer’s fracture can occur when punching an object. This is a term used to describe a fracture of the fifth metacarpal (little finger). As the person punches an object with a closed fist, the force on the big knuckle of the little finger can fracture under impact. It typically breaks the neck of the metacarpal bone. A snapping sound may occur, followed by bruising and swelling over the little finger side of the hand. The knuckle may disappear as the head of the metacarpal can angulate making it less prominent.
• Ensuring you have correct punching technique. Work with a trainer to determine if you are punching correctly. The most amount of impact should be translated through the second and third metacarpal bones (index and middle fingers) not on the ulnar side of the hand.
• Using hand wraps and boxing gloves can reduce the risk of injury during impact
A Boxer’s fracture is diagnosed by X-Ray. Sometimes the metacarpal head angulates volarly into the palm. But being the little finger, which is more flexible than the index or middle fingers it can tolerate a change in angle and can still heal and not cause functional limitations. Your therapist will be able to check your X-Ray and assess your hand to whether a surgical opinion is required.
It is treated by applying a thermoplastic splint to position the finger correctly and allow the soft tissues and fracture to heal. Your therapist can also help provide information and techniques to reduce pain and inflammation.
Exercises and Recovery
Movement is an important part of the recovery process. Your hand therapist can advise when it is safe to start moving your fingers and provide you with exercises to help you regain motion.
If you have any questions regarding avoiding injury associated with boxing, or any issues with the hands, wrists or elbow, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.