Have you heard of Boxer's Fracture? Just from the name, it's easy to guess that it has something to do with broken knuckles. And it does. Otherwise called as Brawler's Fracture, this injury refers to broken bones on the hand that form the knuckles. More specifically, it is a break in the neck of the metacarpal, which is the bone in the hand that connects the finger bones to the wrist. The metacarpal is composed of the shaft, neck and head. Boxer's fracture typically occurs in the metacarpal bones in the ring and little fingers or the fourth and fifth metacarpal bones.
How Do You Get a Boxer's Fracture?
It's called such because it is one of the most common injuries that you can get when you punch an object with a closed fist. Needless to say, you will find a lot of Boxer's Fracture sufferers from fist fights. Some medical experts think that the more apt name to call this is Brawler's Fracture since trained fighters in the boxing ring aren't that prone to this injury since they wear boxing gloves that can cushion the impact on the knuckles.
How Do You Know if You Have One?
The most common signs and symptoms of this injury are pain and tenderness in the affected area around the knuckle. Often, the person also experiences pain when moving the fingers or hand. In cases where a bone is broken, popping sensation can be experienced. Other possible signs include swelling, discoloration and bruising of the injury site, deformity of the broken bone, abnormal movement or misalignment of the affected finger, and pain when pressing the injury. When there is cut on the hand, this may be a sign of a more serious type of this injury.
How Do I Care for this Injury?
Home care is essential before and after seeing a doctor. The foremost step is to relieve the pain and swelling as well as reduce infection risk with the open cuts. This can be done by applying an ice pack or towel soaked in cold water to the injured area. You can also take over-the-counter medications for pain like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Elevate the injured hand to reduce swelling. Wash any cut with soap and water and cover immediately with a clean bandage to prevent infection. It's also a must to prevent further injury. To do that, immobilize the injured hand. Don't use the injured hand to lift objects or do anything that can put pressure on it. Doing so can cause damage to nerves, blood vessels and muscles.
When Do I See a Doctor?
Don't rely solely on the first aid tips given above. You must visit your doctor immediately. After diagnosis, the doctor might put you on a splint or cast if your fracture doesn't require immediate surgery. Your doctor will also protect any wound to minimize the risk of infection. Be sure to follow the doctor's orders about caring for the wound and taking medications.