Boxer's fracture - aftercare; Metacarpal fracture - aftercare
The five bones in your hand that connect 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. Some need to be repaired with surgery.
Your fracture may be in one of the following areas on your hand:
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. Your health care provider will tell you how long you need to wear the splint. Usually, it is for about 3 weeks.
If you had surgery, you may have a cast instead of a splint.
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 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, you can take 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 doctor gave you. Your doctor will tell you when you can:
Keep your splint or cast dry.
You will likely have a follow-up exam 1 to 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 to 8 weeks after the fracture. Your health care provider or therapist will tell you when.
Call your doctor if your hand is:
Also call your doctor if your cast is falling apart or putting pressure on your skin.
Webb CW. Metacarpal fractures. In: Eiff MP, Hatch RL, eds. Fracture Management for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 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, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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