A metacarpal fracture, or broken metacarpal, is a break of one or more bones in the palm from a direct injury. Metacarpal hand fractures can be very painful and can make daily activities difficult.
What You Need To Know About Metacarpal Fractures
What is a Metacarpal Fracture?
Metacarpal fractures occur when the metacarpal bones in your palm break. There are five metacarpal bones in the palm that connect your fingers to your wrist. When functioning properly, this anatomy allows for free and easy movement of the hand.
Since the hand has a complex set of bones, it may be difficult to know for sure whether you have a broken metacarpal. Schedule an appointment with the experts from the Resurgens Hand and Wrist Center.
What Causes a Metacarpal Fracture?
The most common cause of a metacarpal fracture is a direct injury to the hand. It can occur as a result of a sudden blow to the hand, like falling, twisting, or crushing. It is also commonly called "boxer's fracture", as the fifth metacarpal bone is susceptible to damage when punching with a closed fist.
Blunt trauma is the most common way metacarpal fractures occur, but you may be more at risk of general injury if you are an athlete or if your occupation requires working with power tools and heavy objects. You may also be more at risk if you have a preexisting condition such as enchondroma, which is a benign bone cyst that can weaken the hand until it fractures.
Metacarpal Fracture Symptoms
The hand has a very complex set of bones, so it may be difficult to know for sure whether you have a broken metacarpal.
Here are some common signs of a broken metacarpal:
Difficulty moving the hand
Deformities in the knuckles or the fingers
How is a Metacarpal Fracture Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose a metacarpal fracture, your Resurgens physician will ask you about your medical history and how the condition began. Then, they will perform a brief physical exam to check the range of motion and pain levels in the hand. This exam is short and may cause some slight discomfort.
Your physician will then order diagnostic imaging to rule out any other potential conditions and assess the severity of your injury. Then, they will talk to you about your treatment options and create a custom treatment plan for you.
Metacarpal Fracture Treatment
No two metacarpal fracture injuries are the same, and there are both non-surgical and surgical treatment options available. Your Resurgens physician will be able to recommend the best treatment plan for you.
<h3> Non-Surgical Treatment
The majority of metacarpal fractures can be treated using non-surgical methods. Splinting or casting the hand will immobilize the hand so it can heal better. If the break is displaced or more severe, your physician will numb the hand and set the bones back into place so they can heal properly. Some other non-surgical treatments include:
NSAIDs to manage pain
<h3> Surgical Treatment
Surgery may be required if the metacarpal fracture is severely displaced and needs to be realigned. In this case, the surgeon will make an incision in the hand and add metal components to help stabilize the hand.
After the surgery, you will wear a splint or cast to immobilize the area. Your doctor will let you know when it is safe to resume movement in the hand and start physical therapy.
If you're struggling with debilitating pain due to a metacarpal fracture, schedule an appointment with a Resurgens Hand/Wrist specialist today.