Where It Occurs
What we commonly know as a “boxer’s fracture” refers to a break at the neck of the metacarpal bones, which are the bones of the hand that form the knuckles.
The most common types of boxer’s fractures occur in the knuckle bones of the ring and little finger.
What the Symptoms Are
The typical symptoms of a boxer’s fracture are:
- A snapping or popping sensation as the break occurs.
- Pain and tenderness centered on the broken bone.
- Swelling, discoloring, or bruising around the broken bone.
- Possible deformity of the broken knuckle.
- Rotation of the bone: the finger(s) involved bends towards the thumb more than usual when making a fist. This may indicate a more serious injury.
- Lacerations: when there is a cut in the skin of the hand, this may indicate a more serious injury.
What to Do When It Happens
Immediately after suffering from a boxer’s fracture, seek emergency medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. While you wait for medical attention, you could minimize the pain and swelling by applying an ice pack or a towel soaked in cold water to the injured area. You can also elevate the injured hand to reduce swelling, wash all open cuts with soap and water to reduce risk of infection, and immobilize the hand to prevent further injury.
What to Do After It Happens
After having the fracture treated by a doctor, you can continue its care at home in the following ways:
- Keep all splints and casts dry and clean.
- If you notice that the cast is becoming too tight because of swelling of the hand, and you begin feeling numbness or tingling in your hand, seek medical attention immediately.
- Manage your pain with doctor-prescribed pain medication, or over the counter pain medication.
- Keep all wounds clean and monitor for signs of infection, such as: redness, warmth around the affected area, swelling, or pus draining from the wound.
How To Avoid It
Learning to punch correctly and avoiding fistfights when you are not wearing the proper protective gear can prevent Boxer’s fractures.