A break in the little finger (5th) metacarpal (hand bone) is often coined a Boxer's Fracture. This is because a common mechanism of injury is from a punching a hard surface with a clenched fist. The bone is usually broken at the neck (close to where the little finger joins the hand) or the base (back of wrist on little finger side of hand).
Pain surrounding the break in the bone and swelling in the region usually occur directly after the blow. However it is important to get an x-ray early, because if the bone has shifted in position it may need an operation to fix it. There is a real chance, that if the bone is left to heal in an incorrect position, that permanent changes in the way the little finger moves will result.
A Hand Therapist will make a custom fit thermoplastic splint to protect the bones as they heal, whilst allowing for maximal safe use of your hand. As swelling over the back of the hand is common with Boxer's Fractures, managing swelling is critical, as is getting the healing fracture moving as soon as it is safe to do so. An experienced Hand Therapist can help guide you through this process.
Author Jo Marsh
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