The 5 bones in your hand that go from your wrist to your thumb and fingers are called the metacarpal bones.
You have a fracture (break) in one or more of these bones. This is called a hand (or metacarpal) fracture. Some hand fractures require wearing a splint or a cast, and some need to be repaired with surgery.
Your fracture may be:
If you have a bad break, you may be referred to a bone doctor (orthopedic surgeon). You may need surgery to insert pins and braces to repair the fracture.
You will likely have to wear a splint. The splint will cover part of your fingers and both sides of your hand and wrist. Most people wear a splint for about 3 weeks.
Most fractures heal well. After healing, your knuckle may look different or your finger may move in a different way when you close your hand.
Some fractures may require surgery. You will likely be referred to a bone doctor (orthopaedic surgeon) if
You may have pain and swelling for 1 or 2 weeks.To reduce this:
For pain relief, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), aspirin, or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can buy these pain medicines without a prescription.
Follow the instructions about your splint that your health care provider gave you. Your provider will tell you when you can:
Keep your splint or cast dry.
You will likely have a follow-up exam 1 - 3 weeks after your injury. For severe fractures, you may need physical therapy after your splint or cast is removed.
You can usually return to work or sports activities about 6 - 8 weeks after the fracture. Your health care provider or therapist will advise you.
Call your health care provider if your hand is:
Also call your health care provider if your cast is broken down or it is putting pressure on your skin.
Boxer’s fracture; Metacarpal fracture
Webb CW. Metacarpal fractures. In: Eiff MP, Hatch RL, eds. Fracture Management for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 4.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2013, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.