Diagnosis & Treatment of Boxer’s Fracture Injuries
A boxer’s fracture is a medical injury that occurs commonly in athletes who participate in combat sports where punching is involved. This type of fracture impacts a bone in the pinky finger, which is referred to medically as the fifth metacarpal. Thankfully, proper medical treatment can alleviate painful symptoms and enable many patients to make a full recovery.
Causes of a Boxer’s Fracture
As the name suggests, a boxer’s fracture usually results from throwing a punch. When a person closes their fist and strikes a hard object with improper form, it can cause the bone in the small finger to bend. If this bone bends too far, it can break and result in a boxer’s fracture.
In less common cases, a patient may sustain a boxer’s fracture from external trauma. For example, dropping a heavy object can crush the small finger and sometimes create a boxer’s fracture.
Symptoms of a Boxer’s Fracture
While the symptoms of a boxer’s fracture can vary from patient to patient, this injury generally produces a number of painful consequences. The common symptoms of a boxer’s fracture include:
- Swelling, inflammation, or discoloration in the affected finger;
- Sharp or throbbing pain emanating from the affected finger;
- Cuts or abrasions near the affected finger;
- Misalignment of the affected finger; and
- Reduced range of motion in the affected finger.
Diagnosis of a Boxer’s Fracture
In order to diagnose a boxer’s fracture, a medical professional will usually begin with a physical examination. By analyzing and manipulating the injured finger, a medical professional can potentially rule out potential causes.
After the physical examination is complete, imaging tests may be needed to confirm the presence of a boxer’s fracture. X-rays are very helpful in this context, enabling a clear view of the bone involved. In rare cases, a medical professional may need to conduct a CT scan as well.
Treatment of a Boxer’s Fracture
Treatment options for a boxer’s fracture can vary greatly depending on the severity of injury and the patient’s medical history. In this context, it is vital for a medical professional to determine ideal treatment options. Attempts at self-treatment are not advisable for this type of injury.
In many cases, a medical professional can reset the broken bone without surgery. However, severe injuries may require surgery and the insertion of pins or plates. After setting the bone or conducting surgery, the patient will likely wear a splint, cast, or brace to minimize movement and stimulate healing.
After successful treatment, the recovery timelines for most patients is usually a month or two. Then physical/occupational therapy is recommended to ensure a full recovery.
Seek Medical Assistance for a Boxer’s Fracture Today
If you are seeking medical assistance for a boxer’s fracture, it can be vastly beneficial to contact a skilled orthopaedic physician. At the Orthopaedic Associates of Riverside, we have a team of highly qualified physicians with board certifications and extensive knowledge of orthopaedic medicine, including boxer’s fractures. If you are suffering from a boxer’s fracture or another injury, contact us today for a consultation!