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Metacarpal / Hand Fracture

What are Metacarpal Fractures?

Metacarpal fractures are breaks in the long bones of the hand known as the metacarpals.  These bones connect the fingers to the wrist.

Signs and Symptoms of Metacarpal Fracture

A metacarpal fracture should be suspected if there is pain, swelling and bruising in the palm and over the back of the hand.  The ability to move the fingers, does not indicate absence of a fracture.  In some cases the knuckle of the fractured finger may appear to have disappeared or there may be a 'lump' on the back of the hand indicating that the fracture has angled.

Types of Metacarpal Fracture

The most common types include:

Boxer's Fracture:  This fracture occurs in the neck of the metacarpal bone, often caused by punching or striking a hard surface with a closed fist.

Shaft Fracture:  This fracture happens along the length of the metacarpal bone.

Base Fracture:  This fracture occurs at the base of the metacarpal bone where the metacarpal joins the wrist.

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Boxer's fracture / metacarpal neck fracture

Metacarpal shaft fractures

How is a Metacarpal Fracture Treated?

Treatment of a metacarpal fracture will depend on the location and severity of the fracture.  An x-ray is always required to determine the exact nature of the fracture.

Common Treatment approaches include:

  1. Immobilization:  In less severe cases, a splint or cast may be used to immobilize the hand and promote healing.  For fractures of the metacarpal neck or shaft, it is generally not necessary to include the wrist in the splint or cast.  Our hand therapists can fit you with a custom-made splint to protect your fracture, whilst leaving the wrist free.

  2. Closed reduction:  In cases where there is significant angulation or shortening of the fracture, the bones may need to be realigned under local anaesthetic, followed by immobilisation in a splint or cast.

  3. Surgical reduction:  For more complex fractures, surgery may be required to realign the bones and fix them with pins, screws or plates.

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Custom-made hand based metacarpal fracture brace

Regardless of which treatment method is used hand therapy plays a vital role in restoring hand function.  A hand therapist will help you to reduce pain and swelling and guide you through exercises to restore movement and strength.

At Bayside Hand Therapy, we specialise in the treatment of hand fractures.  Our skilled team of hand therapists is committed to providing personalised care to help you recover from hand injuries and regain optimal function.

Contact us today and take the first step towards a speedy recovery.

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