How Long For A Boxer’s Fracture To Heal

by | Mar 30, 2024

Boxer’s fractures happen when you punch something hard with a closed fist, breaking the bone in your hand near your pinkie finger. You will likely have to wear a splint or cast and stay away from sports for about six to eight weeks to let it heal.

Once it happens, it can leave you wondering, “How long for a boxer’s fracture to heal?” You regain your hand strength in 6 weeks but still avoid taking up some heavy tasks. You can resume daily practices and weightlifting activities after 8-12 weeks.

What Is a Boxer’s Fracture, and What Affects its Healing Time?

In your hand and wrist, there are 27 bones. If too much force is put on one of these bones, it can break, also called a fracture. A Boxer’s Fracture occurs when the bone near your pinkie finger breaks when you punch something hard.

Sometimes, the bone can break into many pieces or move out of place, causing a deformity. If the broken bone pierces through the skin, it’s called an open fracture, which can trigger infection. This might happen if the punch hits a tooth.

The healing duration of a boxer’s fracture depends on the fracture type and its impact on the hand.

  • Impact on the Hand
    When a bone breaks, it causes bleeding and stiffness in the fingers. If the break affects the joint, it might cause arthritis in the future. With a Boxer’s Fracture, the knuckle of the pinkie finger can look different, and the pinkie might twist over the ring finger when making a fist.
    This can weaken grip strength, but this fracture usually doesn’t cause arthritis. The ring and pinkie fingers are for strong gripping, while the index and middle fingers are for delicate tasks. So, it’s important to fully bend the pinkie finger.
  • Fracture Types
    Every fracture is different, and so is its healing time. Common fracture types include:
  • Stable: A stable fracture means that the broken pieces of bone are still properly aligned and the bone ends are close. It’s less likely to move out of place.
  • Unstable: This type indicates that the broken pieces of bone are misaligned and the bone ends are farther apart. Such a fracture is more likely to drift out of place.
  • Undisplaced: An undisplaced fracture means the broken bone pieces are still in their normal position, without a shift in place. It’s stable and eliminates the need for surgery to fix it.
  • Displaced (rotated): A displaced fracture signifies shifting or rotating the broken pieces from their normal position. This can affect how the bone heals and require realignment or surgery to fix.
  • Joint not involved: The fracture doesn’t extend into or affect the joint, where two bones meet and move together.
  • Joint involved: If the fracture affects the joint, the break extends into the area where two bones meet, impacting how the joint functions.

Healing Process and Duration

Even if the bone doesn’t look perfectly aligned on an X-ray, the hand can still work well after a fracture of the fifth knuckle. That’s because the nearby joint can adjust much to compensate for any deformity.

You might notice a bony lump forming at the fracture site during healing. This is normal and usually goes away within 6 to 12 months.

Your pinkie finger might droop after the fracture, but it should straighten out fully in about 6 to 8 weeks.
Your hand might ache for a while, even after the fracture heals, which can take about 6 weeks. But to reclaim its full strength, you must allow 6 more weeks. Sometimes, the bone might not stay aligned, and you might need more serious treatment.

Ending Note

It takes around 6 weeks for a boxer’s fracture to heal. It is very common in men and usually recovers without any complications. However, to speed up the recovery process, ensure that you receive timely medical intervention.

Visit Dr. Luo at Randy Y. Luo, MD, MBA. Our hand and upper extremity specialist is just the professional you need during such unfortunate events. He has presented at national meetings and written peer-reviewed articles on orthopedic and hand surgery.

Call us at (713) 794-3307 to book an appointment.

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