A boxer’s fracture is a break in the bone in the hand that attaches to the pinky finger. The long bones in the hand are called metacarpals.
A boxer’s fracture is also called a fifth metacarpal fracture.
A boxer’s fracture can happen when your child hits a hard object with their fist. It may also happen if your child falls onto their hand.
Symptoms may include:
Your provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and how the injury happened. He or she will examine your child. Your child will have X-rays of the hand.
A child's bones are different from an adult’s bones in a couple ways. A child’s bones are more flexible and may crack rather than break. Or they may just buckle slightly. Also, the bones are still growing from areas near the ends of the bones called growth plates. A fracture in a growth plate may affect the growth of the bone but it may be hard to see with X-rays. Sometimes special tests are needed to diagnose fractures in the growth plate.
If the broken bone is crooked, your healthcare provider will straighten it. Your child will be given medicine first so the straightening is not painful. Sometimes surgery is needed to put the bones back into the correct position.
Your healthcare provider will put your child’s hand and forearm in a cast to keep the hand from moving while it heals.
Follow the full course of treatment your healthcare provider prescribes. Also:
Depending on the type of injury and how it was treated, your child may need to do special exercises to help the arm and hand get stronger. Most of the time preteen children are so active that they get stronger and more flexible without physical therapy.
Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests. Call your healthcare provider if:
Boxer’s fractures usually heal within 6 weeks.
Everyone recovers from an injury at a different rate. Return to your child's activities depends on how soon the hand recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since the injury occurred. The goal is to return them to normal activities as soon as safely possible. If your child returns too soon the injury may get worse. Your child may start rehabilitation exercises when the healthcare provider has taken a follow-up X-ray and sees that the fracture has healed.
Your child may return to normal activities when the hand has full range of motion without pain and has the same strength as the uninjured hand.
Try to avoid hitting hard objects with the fist.