When you have a broken knuckle, it is essential that you get the injury treated as soon as possible to prevent future problems. The concern with a broken knuckle, which is also known as boxers fracture, is that you can suffer the damage and not realize you broke it. You assume you have some pain in your hand, so you don’t go to the doctor. Then the bone sets wrong, and it heals in the wrong place. At that point, a doctor will have to rebreak it and set it again. You don’t want to go through this so here is how you should handle a broken knuckle.
What is a Broken Knuckle or Boxers Fracture?
Even though the knuckles are one of the most durable parts of the body, they can still break like any other bone in the body. The injury is often known as a brawlers fracture or a boxer’s fracture because the most common way to suffer this injury is throwing a punch at someone one or something. The pinky knuckle is the one most susceptible to being fractured because of its position and angle.
Symptoms of a Broken Knuckle
Broken Knuckle Symptom #1 – Popping Sensation
- Popping sensation upon impact of knuckle
- Usually the first sign of boxers fracture
- Can experience this on a hard hit
Broken Knuckle Symptom #2 – Severe Pain
- Impact to break knuckle will almost always be followed by pain
- Dull or throbbing pain in the hand
- May still be able to flex hand
- Don’t assume movement of hand means there is no boxers fracture
Broken Knuckle Symptom #3 – Swelling and Bruising
- After impact on hand swelling should start to develop rapidly
- Stiffness usually begins to set in
- Swelling will affect other fingers
Broken Knuckle Symptom #4 – Deformed Knuckle
- Knuckle will be set lower than usual
- Almost always the sign of a boxer’s fracture
Broken Knuckle Symptom #5 – Numbness
- Swelling can compress nerves
- Common for hand to go numb
Broken Knuckle Symptom #6 – Delayed Union
- When it takes longer than normal for the bone to heal
Broken Knuckle Symptom #7 -Mal-Union
- After following the treatment protocol hand can still set wrong
- The result of twisted or smaller form of bone after boxers fracture
Broken Knuckle Symptom #8 – Non-Union
- When bone does not recover back to normal state
- Sometimes even surgery does not work
Cause of a Broken Knuckle
There are only a few causes of broken knuckles.
- A hard fall
- Severe trauma to knuckles
- Throwing punches
For the knuckles to break the hand usually needs to be flexed, and it is not often that the hand is flexed and getting hit outside of throwing a punch at someone. It is often when the hand comes in contact with the bones of someone’s face that causes the knuckles to shatter. Sometimes people will be pissed about something, and they will punch a wall in frustration and suffer a boxer’s fracture.
Treatment for a Broken Knuckle
One of the most important first steps when you suspect a fracture is to clean any wounds or cuts on the knuckles. You don’t want to focus on icing and doing other things when in a worst case scenario you have an open fracture that is susceptible to infection.
Then you want to make sure you get an ice pack on the area to help reduce the swelling and alleviate some of the pain. Ice is controversial because it interrupts the bodies natural self-healing process. There is a reason that the body swells up but you can make your own choice based on how you feel. You want to keep your hand above your heart at all times to help with circulation and draining the swelling.
Get Professional Help As Soon As Possible
The ideal situation is to see a sports medicine physician because they are used to dealing with injuries like these in boxers and MMA fighters. If you already have a relationship with a chiropractor or a physical therapist that you can trust or see quickly that can work as well to figure out next steps.
The reason you want to see a healthcare provider is that you want to get that bone set in the proper position to heal right. A boxer’s fracture is not a significant injury to treat on your own and hope for the best with. The chances are that the injury will most likely not heal the right way ad you will have to have surgery later anyway. Save yourself the time and energy and get help.
A healthcare provider will be able to help you figure out if there is a fracture and what the best plan of action is for getting healthy again. You may need a splint, a cast or even need surgery if the break is severe.
Find The Best Healthcare Providers for a Boxers Fracture/Fractured Knuckle
Kho Health can help you find the best healthcare providers for a broken knuckle. Kho Health allows you to search for healthcare providers based on type and skill set. If you want a sports medicine doctor that also know acupuncture, for example, Kho Health will show you the best local options. Kho Health makes it easier to choose providers because each provider is given a Kho Number.