Sometimes simply referred to as a broken hand, a fracture to the metacarpal involves an impact injury to the wrist or knuckles. The human body has five metacarpal bones, meaning that there are five potential fractures open to anybody. Common causes of metacarpal fractures are sporting injuries (any breakage to the fifth metacarpal, which is located close to the knuckle, is known as a boxer’s fracture) or any form of sudden impact, such as breaking a fall with the hand. Surgery is usually avoidable in the case of a broken metacarpal, and full use of the hand is often recovered within 6-8 weeks.
What are the Symptoms of a Broken Metacarpal?
Metacarpal fracture symptoms usually revolve around pain in the hand. Anybody living with this injury will find that their fingers become very stiff and making a fist becomes very difficult, and the hand in question will often swell. Bruising may also be a common symptom, but this could take a number of days to manifest. It’s important to understand which area of the hand has sustained the injury, as treatment will vary as to whether the fracture is located towards the knuckle (the head of the metacarpal) or the wrist (a metacarpal base fracture).
How to Tell the Difference Between a Broken and Sprained Metacarpal
The symptoms of a metacarpal shaft fracture and a metacarpal sprain are very similar and can be difficult to differentiate, especially as both are often caused by impact. The safest way to establish whether a metacarpal has been sprained or fractured is to seek an x-ray from a healthcare professional, but placing ice on the injury will also provide insight; the pain should subside if an ice pack is placed upon the area in question.
How is a Broken Metacarpal Treated?
The most common metacarpal fracture treatment protocol is to apply a splint to the affected area of the hand, which will allow the bones to realign and heal themselves naturally. You will be expected to engage in some basic hand exercises during this time to prevent future complications, so why not get in touch with Medical Expert to see if you qualify for free physiotherapy in your area? The injury will also be a little sore, but paracetamol or other traditional painkilling medications will help with this.
Will Surgery Be Required?
The need for metacarpal fracture surgery depends on the severity of the injury. In the event of a particularly bad break, you may need to visit a hospital for a surgical procedure, which will insert pins into the injured area and leave your hand and wrist in a cast. Thankfully, this is rare; most metacarpal base fractures are dealt with using a simple splint and physiotherapy. Contact Medical Expert for more information about whether you can obtain this assistance free of charge.
How Long Does it Take for a Metacarpal Fracture to Heal?
It usually takes around eight weeks for a metacarpal base or head fracture to heal entirely and allow you to resume typical activities – as this is an impact injury, there is nothing to gain by attempting to resume any vigorous physicality before this. Always follow the advice of a healthcare professional or physiotherapist before returning to work, whether you are seeking treatment for your broken metacarpal on the NHS or through a private advisor recommended by Medical Expert.
Contact Us to Find Out if You Qualify for Free Private Treatment
Anybody living with a metacarpal fracture will be keen to heal ASAP. While you’ll have to patient and allow nature to run its course, you may find that assistance of a professional physiotherapist will help the process run smoother. There are many options open to people that are not widely known – calling Medical Expert on 020 3870 4868 will potentially open up a world of access to complimentary private treatments, therapy and medical equipment.