Boxer's Fracture

Boxer's fracture is a common name for a fracture of the long bone that connects the little finger to the wrist.

  • Causes

    Boxer's fracture can be caused by:

    • Punching another person or object, such as a wall, with a closed fist
    • Falls
    • Playing certain sports
    • Squeezing or crushing of the hand

  • Definition

    Boxer's fracture is a common name for a fracture of the long bone that connects the little finger to the wrist.

    The types of boxer's fractures are:

    • Nondisplaced — the bone is broken, but remains in place
    • Displaced — ends of the bone are separated from one another
    • Comminuted — the bone is broken into several pieces

    Fractures may either be:

    • Closed — the fracture does not break the skin
    • Open — the fracture breaks through the skin
    Bones in the Hand
    Bones in the Hand
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. The injured finger will be examined. Tests may include:

    • Range-of-motion tests
    • X-rays

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of boxer's fracture, take these steps:

    • Do not put yourself at risk for trauma to the bone.
    • Avoid situations where fights may occur.
    • Consider anger management if you have repeated anger outbursts or are prone to fighting.
    • Wear proper padding and safety equipment when participating in sports or activities.

    To help reduce falling hazards at work and home, take these steps:

    • Clean spills and slippery areas right away
    • Remove tripping hazards such as loose cords, rugs, and clutter
    • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower
    • Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or tub
    • Put in handrails on both sides of stairways
    • Walk only in well-lit rooms, stairs, and halls
    • Keep flashlights on hand in case of a power outage

  • Risk Factors

    Boxer's fractures are more common in men. Other factors that increase your chance of a boxer's fracture include:

    • Prone to angry outbursts or fighting
    • Participating in certain sports, such as boxing or football
    • Advancing age
    • Osteoporosis
    • Certain diseases or conditions that result in bone or mineral loss, such as abnormal or absent menstrual cycles, or post-menopause
    • Certain diseases and conditions that weaken bones, such as tumors or cysts
    • Decreased muscle mass
    • Exposure to, or prone to violence

  • Symptoms

    A boxer's fracture may cause:

    • Swelling
    • Pain
    • Deformity
    • Lack of movement
    • Depressed knuckle

  • Treatment

    Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with your finger or hand. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include: