Hand fractures (metacarpals)
Hand fractures involve the bones known as the metacarpals. There are 5 metacarpals corresponding to the four fingers and thumb. Hand fractures are a common injury in boxers. The fracture can occur anywhere along the length of the metacarpal (near the knuckle, mid-bone, or near the wrist).
Symptoms of Hand fractures
• Swelling and tenderness over the affected area
• Deformity of the involved metacarpal
• Inability to move the finger of the involved metacarpal
• Shortened finger of the involved metacarpal
• Depressed knuckle
• Finger crosses over its neighbour when you make a partial fist
Diagnosis and treatment
Your doctor will diagnose your fracture. An x-ray would be done to see the alignment of the bones and what damage has occurred. In the case of a fracture the doctor will reduce it and then immobilize it in a cast. In some cases in complicated fractures surgery is required to pin/screw or plate the bone back together.
Once the fracture has healed physiotherapy may be required to gain back full function of the hand. This would involve reducing any residual pain and swelling as well as gaining full strength and range of motion of the hand. Your physiotherapist will also guide you in your return to sport.