A “boxer fracture” is a break in one of the metacarpal bones of the hand. Metacarpal bones form the knuckles and connect the finger bones to the wrist bone. Boxer fractures are breaks in the neck (top portion) of metacarpal bones and usually involve the ring and little fingers. These fractures generally heal very well with proper treatment.
Boxer fractures most commonly occur when a child punch a hard object with a closed fist. They can also occur when an open hand hits a hard object.
The doctor will carefully examine your child’s hand at the injured area. An x-ray will show a fracture/break of the metacarpal bone.
With this kind of fracture, the child feels pain around the injured bone. There may also be swelling, discoloration and/or bruising at the injury site.
At the time of injury, applying ice and elevating the injured hand can help reduce swelling. Most boxer fractures require only a splint or cast to immobilize the hand and prevent further injury. Cast/splint treatment generally lasts three to six weeks. Occasionally, patients require surgery for severely displaced fractures. Your child’s physician may obtain repeat x-rays during the treatment phase to make sure the fracture is healing properly. Total healing time is usually six to eight weeks.
Returning to Sports & Activities
The goal is to return your child to sports as quickly and safely as possible. However, if they return to play too early or play with pain, they’re at risk for further injury.
To return to contact sports, the hand may need to be protected for an additional four to six weeks with padded splint after the cast is removed.
Children can generally return to sports when they’re pain free, have good range of motion of their hand and show signs of healing on x-rays.