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A hand fracture is a break in one of the bones in the hand. This includes:

  • The small bones of the fingers (phalanges)
  • The long bones within the palm (metacarpals)

A broken hand can be caused by a fall, crush injury, or twisting injury, or through direct contact in sports.

In many cases, a hand fracture will heal well with nonsurgical treatment. Depending on the type and location of the fracture, this may include wearing a cast, splint or buddy straps for a period of time.


The bones in your hand include

  • Phalanges. These are the small bones that form the thumb and fingers. There are two phalanges in the thumb and three in each of the fingers.
  • Metacarpals. These are the five bones located in the palm of the hand. The metacarpals connect the fingers to the hand and wrist.

The most common hand fracture is a fracture of the fifth metacarpal — the bone in the hand that supports the little finger. This is commonly called a “boxer’s fracture” and involves the "neck” of the bone, next to the knuckle joint. A boxer’s fracture is caused most often by punching or striking a hard object when your hand is closed in a fist. It can also be caused by a fall, motor vehicle accident, or other trauma.


Signs and symptoms of a hand fracture may include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Deformity
  • Inability to move the finger
  • Shortened finger
  • The injured finger crossing over its neighbor (scissoring) when making a fist

In the case of a boxer’s fracture, the patient’s knuckle may look sunken in or depressed. This is caused by the displacement or angulation of the end, or “head,” of the metacarpal bone.