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
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