A Boxer's Fracture

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A “boxer's fracture” is also known as a metacarpal neck fracture. The most frequently broken metacarpal is the 5th metacarpal. It usually occurs as a consequence of a direct blow with a closed fist – hence the name!

This type of fracture is most commonly seen in young males. Signs and symptoms include swelling and pain along the outside of the hand, most notable on the back and side of the hand. You may also notice bruising and find it difficult bending and straightening your little finger. When a boxer’s fracture accompanies an open injury (broken skin), infection is common. These “fight bites” may require thorough cleaning by the surgeon and close monitoring for clinical signs of infection.

Treatment for metacarpal neck fractures can range from none at all to various surgical techniques--depending on the severity. If the fracture is deemed to be in a suitable position and stable the treatment usually involves a thermoplastic splint for 3-6 weeks to protect the bone as it heals.  Range of movement exercises may also be prescribed by a hand therapist. Thankfully, metacarpal neck fractures are typically quick-healing and most patients return to full function following treatment.


To make an appointment for an assessment with any one of our hand surgeons or hand therapists within the newly refurbished London Hand and Wrist Unit, call our Enquiry Helpline on 020 7483 5148.

The unit has brought together world class surgeons and experienced therapists at four of the Capital's leading private hospitals, The Wellington, London Bridge Hospital, The Lister and The Portland Hospitals.

Based at the Platinum Medical Centre, The London Hand and Wrist Unit is recognised internationally as providing expertise and high quality care for all patients, adults and children alike, with conditions affecting the hand and wrist.