What is a Boxer's Fracture?
A boxer's fracture occurs when the metacarpal of the hand's little finger is broken. Specifically, the break in a boxer's fracture is near the knuckle, at the area called the metacarpal neck.
What causes a Boxer's Fracture?
The metacarpals are the bones in the hand that serve to connect the wrist to the fingers. The metacarpal neck is the section nearest the knuckle.
Boxer's fractures are caused when a person punches a surface or attempts to break a fall with a with a closed fist in a manner that makes the little finger's metacarpal bone the punch's first point of contact with the opposing surface. This can fracture where the force would concentrate at, an area of the metacarpal near the knuckle called the metacarpal neck.
Despite the name, boxers rarely get boxer's fractures because they are trained to evenly distribute force over the entire hand. This condition may also be caused by direct trauma.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of a boxer's fracture usually include pain, swelling, and tenderness around the little finger's knuckle. Other common symptoms include bruising, knuckle contour loss, and difficulty extending the little finger. If the fracture is very severe, displacement may cause the fingers to overlap when they are in a flexed position.
How is Boxer's Fracture treated?
Generally, boxer's fractures are treatable with immobilization by cast or brace to keep the fracture stable. If the condition has caused severe deformity of the knuckle, your doctor may perform a procedure called a closed reduction. A closed reduction manually pushes the fracture into the correct position before casting is done. Surgery may be needed if very severe displacement or multiple fractures have occurred.