Metacarpal Fractures

Metacarpal fractures or breaks from trauma can occur in one or more of the metacarpal bones of the hand. Metacarpal bones are the long, thin bones that connect the wrist to the fingers. In non-displaced fractures, the bones remain aligned. In displaced fractures, the bones shift out of alignment.


Metacarpal fractures are typically caused by trauma to the hand such as a car accident, a crushing injury, or a direct blow to the hand. A “boxer’s fracture” occurs at the small finger when punching with a closed fist.


Symptoms of metacarpal fractures are typically pain, swelling, and tenderness in the hand. Hand deformities such as fingers out of alignment are also possible.


Physicians will assess symptoms and examine the hand for pain, strength, misalignment, and range of motion. X-rays of the hand will also be used to determine the exact location of the fracture.


Hand fractures require emergency medical attention. Placing the hand in a cast is the most common treatment for metacarpal fractures. The fingers may also be taped to prevent rotating the fracture in the cast. In some cases, the hand will be numbed in order to realign the fracture. Surgery is required when the fracture is unstable or is not healing properly with cast treatment.

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