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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is a boxer fracture?
A boxer fracture is a break of a bone in your hand. This type of fracture usually happens in the bone that connects your wrist to your little finger. It can also happen in bone that connects your wrist to your ring finger. A boxer fracture occurs when you hit an object with a closed fist. The bone may be out of place or in pieces. An open fracture is when there is a break in the skin.
What are the signs and symptoms of a boxer fracture?
- Pain and swelling around your knuckle and the back of your hand
- Little finger that is twisted inward
- Decreased ability to bend or extend your finger
How is a boxer fracture diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about your injury and examine your hand. An x-ray will show the fracture and any foreign object if the wound is open.
How is a boxer fracture treated?
Boxer fractures usually heal by 8 weeks after the injury. Treatment depends on the type of fracture and how severe it is.
- Healthcare providers may tape your little finger to your ring finger if your fracture is mild. You will be able to move your fingers, which will help prevent stiffness.
- Your bone may need to be straightened and a splint or cast applied. These devices will support your fracture while it heals.
- Medicines may be given to decrease pain. Ask your healthcare provider how to take prescription pain medicine safely. If you have an open wound, you may also be given antibiotics or a tetanus vaccine to prevent an infection.
- Surgery may be needed if your fracture is severe. Wires, pins, screws, or plates are used to keep your bones in place while they heal.
How can I manage my symptoms?
- Apply ice on your injury for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for 24 hours or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Elevate your hand above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your hand on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Go to physical therapy. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have a fever.
- Your open wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
- You have trouble moving your finger.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
When should I seek immediate care?
- You cannot bend or extend your finger.
- You have severe pain.
- You have numbness or tingling in your finger.
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