Boxing is one of the premier world sports. As sport enthusiasts may know, the boxing glove is the only area allowed to make contact with the opponent to score points and win the match. If you ever see boxers, they take wrapping their hands very seriously, and the choices they make for boxing gloves could not only affect how they perform, but also how they prevent injuries. An injury during a match could be the difference between winning and losing.
Some boxers use special gloves while training to avoid the injuries. A famous New York hand surgeon Dr. Melone, who has treated numerous professional boxers, has designed a glove that can help reduce the impact on the hand while training. Dr. Khorsandi from the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas has trained with Dr. Melone.
Unfortunately, no matter how prepared the boxers are, injuries do happen in the hustle and bustle of the game. Most of the time, the adrenaline helps boxers push through the pain of the injury. However, an injury does take away some of the power in their punches. The most common hand conditions encountered by boxers include boxer’s knuckle, boxer’s fracture, and metacarpal boss.
Boxer’s knuckle is an injury of the extensor tendon hood of the metacarpal-phalangeal joint, commonly known as the knuckle. The extensor tendon typically passes over the center access point of the metacarpal head. It is held in place by a very thin layer of tissue known as the extensor sagittal band. When a boxer closes the fist and impact occurs at the knuckle, the tissue surrounding the tendon is susceptible to an injury or tearing for two reasons: first, the tissue is very thin, and second, the closed fist places pressure on it. Boxers will experience swelling and pain in the area, and occasionally subluxation of the tendon. If the injury is a partial tear it should heal with conservative treatment from an expert and resting the hand with the help of a splint. However, if the injury is a complete tear it most likely needs surgical intervention and repair by a hand surgeon.
Another common boxing hand injury is called boxer’s fracture. Boxer’s fracture refers to the fracture of the fifth metacarpal bone of the hand. The most common symptoms of this condition are pain, swelling, and deformity of the hand. Furthermore, X-rays usually reveal a displaced or angulated fracture of the bone. If there’s a displacement of the bone or a significant angulation, in most cases it will need adequate reduction with some type of stabilization for the bone to heal properly.
Finally, boxers often suffer from a condition known as metacarpal boss. This occurs at the junction between the long bones of the hand and the wrist (carpal bones). This junction is known as the carpal metacarpal joint space and it usually sustains a lot of the force impact of a punch. This can cause tiny microfractures at the base of the metacarpal. The fractures are small and heal by themselves by forming a callus. However, over time continued over-healing creates a mound of calluses or bone in the area. It can be painful and limit the range of motion of the tendons of the hand. In professional boxing, the preferred treatment is to eliminate the junction or space, known as a fusion. The goal is to provide a more solid area to box in and to lessen the chance of a metacarpal boss forming. The carpal metacarpal fusion provides rigidity, stability, and eliminates pain.
Here at Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, we treat all types of sports-related hand injuries, including boxers, from amateurs to collegiates and professionals. Make an appointment with us today!