Doctor's Notes on Boxer's Fracture
A boxer's fracture is a break through the bones of the hand that form the knuckles. Boxer's fractures are breaks of the metacarpal bones that connect the ring finger or the little finger to the wrist. Sometimes, breaks in the neck of the second and third metacarpal bones are also included in the definition of a boxer's fracture. This type of fracture is caused by delivering a blow with a closed fist.
Signs and symptoms of a Boxer's fracture include pain that can be severe along with tenderness over the area of the fracture. Other associated symptoms can include swelling, bruising of the overlying skin, deformity or misalignment of the bones of the hand, or an abnormal movement of the broken bone fragments.
Boxer's Fracture Symptoms
The typical symptoms of a boxer's fracture are pain or tenderness centered in a specific location on the hand corresponding to one of the metacarpal bones, around the knuckle. The person may also note pain with movement of the hand or fingers.
- When a bone is broken, a snapping or popping sensation in the affected bone may be experienced.
- The hand may swell, discolor, or bruising around the injury site. Deformity of the broken bone or the knuckle also may be noted. There may also be an abnormal movement of the broken bone fragments. The doctor may be able to produce pain by pressing on the broken bone. In addition, pain can be produced by grabbing the finger that attaches to the metacarpal bone that was hurt and pushing it inward toward the broken bone.
- If a fist is made with the affected hand, the doctor may notice misalignment of the associated finger. The doctor may see a deformity of the broken bone. When making a fist, the finger involved may bend toward the thumb more than is usual. This is known as rotation, and, though not always seen, its presence may indicate the possibility of a more serious type of boxer's fracture.
- Another common sign of a possible boxer's fracture is a cut on the hand. A cut in the skin associated with a boxer's fracture may indicate a more serious type of boxer's fracture.
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.