A boxer’s fracture occurs when the fifth metacarpal bone in the hand is broken. This is an injury that is most commonly experienced among boxers. 

However, boxers are not the only people prone to this injury. A boxer’s fracture can result from any direct blow to a clenched fist. 

If you have had a recent injury to the hand and would like to know if you have a boxer’s fracture, schedule a consultation with our hand injury experts at OrthoNeuro. 

Our doctors offer accurate diagnoses and treatment plans that are tailored to you. Call or schedule an appointment online now!

What Causes Boxer’s Fractures?


The hand is a complex structure of bones, ligaments, and cartilage. Metacarpal bones are inside the flat part of the hand and connect the fingers (the phalanges) to the bones in the wrist (the carpals). 

The fifth metacarpal bone is located near the pinky finger. This area is where boxer’s fractures normally occur. The metacarpal bone widens out towards the knuckle, and this is the weakest part of the bone that is most prone to fractures. 

Although the pinky finger is the most common finger where boxer’s fractures occur, a boxer’s fracture can also occur near other fingers such as the index finger, the middle finger, and the ring finger. 

A boxer’s fracture is usually caused by punching a solid object or wall with great force, falling hard on a closed fist, or a closed fist being hit by a hard object such as a baseball bat. Metacarpal bones are the most commonly broken bones in the hand. 

The neck of the metacarpal bone is the weakest point of the fist, so fractures often occur in this area.

What Are the Symptoms of a Boxer’s Fracture?

Symptoms of a boxer’s fracture may vary depending on the severity of the fracture. However, those who experience a boxer’s fracture will often experience severe pain instantly after the incident. 

Some signs and symptoms of a boxer’s fracture can include: 

  • Pain on the back of the hand around the fifth metacarpal
  • A bent pinky finger that looks misaligned
  • A limited range of motion in the fingers of the affected hand
  • Swelling and bruising in the back of the hand

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, seek immediate medical care. 

How Is a Boxer’s Fracture Diagnosed?

Your doctor will first need to differentiate your injury from another type of metacarpal fracture besides a boxer’s fracture. Then, your healthcare provider will ask about the accident that caused the injury and your symptoms. 

Your doctor will conduct a physical examination of your hand and check the range of motion, misalignment, breaks in the skin, and test its strength. 

Your doctor may also order other imagining tests such as an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI to confirm the location and severity of the fracture. 

What Are the Treatments for a Boxer’s Fracture?

Treatment for a boxer’s fracture will depend on the severity of the fracture. Most boxer’s fractures can be treated without surgery.

Treatment for a boxer’s fracture may include: 

  • Resting the hand
  • Icing your hand several times per day
  • Elevating the hand above heart level
  • Taking over the counter pain medication (ibuprofen)
  • Wearing a splint or cast for several weeks to immobilize the hand

In the case of an unusually severe boxer’s fracture, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery to realign the hand.


Some complications that can occur due to a boxer’s fracture are limited grip strength, deformation of the finger, and a decreased range of motion in the finger. 

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy after the fracture heals to combat these complications. A physical therapist can help you do exercises that will prevent the muscles in the hand from getting stiff and help to restore the flexibility and range of motion in the hand.


Our board-certified hand specialists at OrthoNeuro are highly skilled and have helped many patients recover from boxer’s fractures and other various injuries to the hand and have enabled athletes and non-athletes alike to begin the healing process as soon as possible. 

If you suspect you might have a boxer’s fracture and would like an accurate diagnosis, make an appointment for a physical examination with an OrthoNeuro specialist today! We have multiple locations throughout the state of Georgia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Boxer’s Fracture Heal on Its Own?

No, a boxer’s fracture cannot simply be left to heal on its own. A healthcare professional must reset and reposition the bone to heal properly. 

An untreated boxer’s fracture can decrease grip strength, a lower range of motion, and even crooked fingers.

How Long Does a Boxer’s Fracture Take To Heal?

A boxer’s fracture typically takes around six weeks to heal. An additional six weeks is usually needed for the strength and range of motion to return to the hand. 

However, the severity of the injury and the injured person’s age can affect the healing time.

What Can I Do to Prevent a Boxer’s Fracture?

It is important to use the proper technique and equipment to prevent a boxer’s fracture when boxing or participating in high-impact sports. It is also important to avoid punching solid objects. 

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