Boxer's fracture is a common name for a fracture of the long bone that connects the little finger to the wrist.
The types of boxer's fractures are:
Fractures may either be:
Bones in the Hand
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Boxer's fracture can be caused by:
Boxer's fractures are more common in men. Other factors that increase your chance of a boxer's fracture include:
A boxer's fracture may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. The injured finger will be examined. Tests may include:
Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with your finger or hand. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include:
Extra support may be needed to protect, support, and keep your finger in line while it heals. Supportive steps may include a splint, brace, or cast.
Some fractures cause pieces of bone to separate. Your doctor will need to put these pieces back into their proper place. This may be done:
Wound care is an important part of your recovery. This is especially true if you punched a wall, or someone in the mouth, which resulted in a break in the skin.
Children’s bones are still growing at an area of the bone called the growth plate. If the fracture affected the growth plate, your child may need to see a specialist. Injuries to the growth plate will need to be monitored to make sure the bone can continue to grow as expected.
Your doctor may recommend:
Check with your doctor before taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
Depending on your vaccination history, you may need a tetanus or other shots.
Healing time varies by age and your overall health. Children and people in better overall health heal faster. In general, it takes up to 6 weeks for a boxer's fracture to heal.
You will need to adjust your activities while your finger heals, but complete rest is rarely required. Ice and elevating the hand at rest may also be recommended to help with discomfort and swelling.
As you recover, you may be referred to physical therapy or rehabilitation to start range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. Do not return to activities or sports until your doctor gives you permission to do so.
If you have a boxer's fracture, follow your doctor's instructions.
To help reduce your chance of boxer's fracture, take these steps:
To help reduce falling hazards at work and home, take these steps:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Gudmundsen TE, Borgen L. Fractures of the fifth metacarpal. Acta Radiol. 2009;50(3):296-300.
Hand and wrist pain—differential diagnosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Accessed September 17, 2013.
Hand fractures. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00010 . Updated October 2007. Accessed September 17, 2013.
Poolman RW, Goslings JC, et al. Conservative treatment for closed fifth (small finger) metacarpal neck fractures. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005;(3):CD003210.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013