Boxer’s fracture is basically a break in the bones of the hand that forms the knuckles. This typically occurs in the metacarpal bones that connect the ring finger to the wrist. In some cases, a break in the neck of the second and third metacarpal bones can be considered as a boxer’s fracture.
What are the symptoms?
The usual symptoms of boxer’s fracture include pain or tenderness focused in the location of the hand where the metacarpal bones are situated around the knuckle. The individual will also notice pain during movement of the fingers or hand.
If a bone is broken, there is a popping or snapping sensation. In most cases, the hand can discolor, swell or bruise at the site of injury. Deformity of the bone might also occur. There is also unusual movement of the involved bone fragments.
When the individual creates a fist using the affected hand, there is misalignment of the affected finger. In addition, there might be a cut on the hand. Take note that a cut on the skin linked with boxer’s fracture might indicate a serious injury.
When to seek medical care
Once the individual sustained an injury and a boxer’s fracture is suspected, a doctor must be consulted or simply bring the individual to the emergency room at the nearest hospital for proper assessment. If the arm or hand of the individual has been splinted or casted and there is growing pain, numbness or tingling sensation, a doctor must be consulted.
Any indications of infection in the cut must also be assessed by a doctor. Any injury on the hand that shows signs or symptoms of a fracture must be properly assessed by a healthcare professional.
Management of boxer’s fracture at home
You can manage boxer’s fracture at home before a doctor is consulted and after a diagnosis of the injury is made.
The immediate objectives when caring for an injured hand involves minimizing the swelling and pain, reducing the risk for infection if there are open wounds and preventing further injury due to an unstable fracture.
- You can minimize swelling and pain by applying an ice pack on the affected area. An alternative is to use a towel immersed in cold water and apply over the injured hand. In addition, elevation can also help minimize the swelling.
- Any open cut at the time of injury indicates an open fracture. The cut must be cleaned using water and soap and covered with clean bandage to reduce the risk for infection.
- Immobilization of the injured hand is vital in preventing further injury. This can be done by instructing the individual to hold the affected hand with his/her uninjured hand. The individual should not use the affected hand to lift objects or engage in any task that adds stress. When an injured hand that is not properly immobilized is used, it can cause damage to the surrounding muscles, tendons, blood vessels, nerves and ligaments.
Take note that the home care after a diagnosis of boxer’s fracture is given is usually based on how the doctor managed the condition. The home care typically includes pain management measures, splint or cast care as well as monitoring for any signs of infection. If you want to learn more about pain management measures, you can register for first aid training today.