Broken Knuckle — Symptoms and Treatment
A broken knuckle occurs when there is a break in the long bones of the palm, which doctors call the metacarpals. Five metacarpals are present in the palm, and a break in the “neck,” or the topmost part of the bone, is common. A broken knuckle can also affect the metacarpal head and the base of the proximal phalanx.
A boxer’s fracture can occur when a person punches something and breaks the top of the fifth metacarpal bone. This is the bone right below the pinkie finger. The injury can also be caused by a sustained a blow to the hand or falling directly onto the hand. When a person has this type of fracture, their knuckle will appear sunken compared with the other knuckle bones. A fractured knuckle isn’t life-threatening, but it does require treatment to heal properly.
Broken knuckle symptoms A fracture can leave your knuckle and the surrounding parts of your hand feeling sore or tender. It might hurt to bend your fingers or make other hand movements. You might not be able to move the affected finger at all. The knuckle might look concave or sunken. Common symptoms of a broken knuckle typically appear close to the site of the fracture.
They can include:
· pain, swelling, or numbness
· cut or pierced skin
· difficulty moving parts of the hand
· depressed knuckle
· misaligned or shortened fingers
· bruising or discoloration
· popping or cracking sound
Diagnosis Your doctor will conduct a physical examination of the affected hand and fingers; including checking tendons and joints. Wounds and cuts around the knuckle can indicate that something is stuck in your hand. They can also indicate an open fracture, in which the bone has broken through the skin. X-rays provide a thorough check for a fracture.
Home remedies In the short-term, broken knuckle treatment focuses on alleviating pain and swelling. The long-term goal of treatment for a broken knuckle is to keep the bone aligned while it heals. Use the RICE method to treat any pain and swelling:
R is for rest. Resting the affected area can help it heal.
I is for ice. Applying cloth-covered ice packs for 10–15 minutes at a time can reduce swelling and help minimize pain.
C is for compression. Wrapping the affected hand in a soft cloth bandage can help reduce swelling and stabilize the injury.
E is for elevation. Elevating the extremity can reduce swelling and discomfort.
Treatment Broken knuckles don’t usually require reduction, a procedure in which the doctor snaps the broken bone back into place. However, it depends on the type, location, and severity of the break. Once a doctor has cleared a person to start moving the affected knuckle, they may recommend physical therapy or some exercises to do at home; such as squeezing a rubber ball and placing a rubber band around the fingers and stretching out the hand.
Surgery Most knuckle fractures do not require surgery. However, your doctor might suggest surgery if:
· your fracture extends into the joint
· you have an open fracture
· pieces of the bone are unstable
· the surrounding tissues are damaged
· you have multiple fractures in the same area
· you’ve had other hand or wrist fractures in the past
· the degree of displacement of the fracture is severe
Healing Time Recovering from a broken knuckle can be challenging. You might not have full use of the affected hand and fingers for a while because a cast or a splint is necessary for several weeks. A doctor might take more X-rays after two or three weeks in order to ensure your knuckle is healing properly. For a swift recovery, follow a doctor’s instructions to the best of your ability. You can’t always control how long it takes your body to heal.