Knuckles or metacarpals are bones found between the proximal phalangal bones of the finger and carpals bones found at the palm of the hands. The 4th and the 5th metacarpal bones are susceptible to damage due to indirect force. A broken knuckle is also called boxer’s fracture which affects the neck of the metacarpal bone which is the fragile part of the bone.
A broken knuckle can be caused by direct impact of a clenched fist using a hard and immovable object. Usually, the knuckle of the ring finger leads the knuckles in a hard punch and it is the 4th metacarpal that is prone to damage.
- Pain and tenderness can be felt on the affected metacarpal joint.
- A snapping and popping sound can be heard
- There is swelling, bruising and discoloration around the affected area and also cuts or lacerations can also happen in the area. The affected area is swollen due to the accumulation of blood and extracellular fluid. The knuckles can become lacerated and there is bleeding from the wound.
- There is difficulty moving the ring and the little finger and sometimes the joint of the finger can be misaligned.
- There is a shallow depression when clenching the fist
- The nerves that are near the knuckles can become damaged and result to numbness and the finger is not capable of bending properly.
- Wash any open wounds such as cuts and scrapes using warm water and hand soap or other antiseptic products immediately after the injury in order to help lessen the risk for infection.
- Cover any open wounds using a clean bandage in order to help stop the bleeding and minimize any infections from getting inside the wound.
- Apply a cold compress on the broken knuckle or ice pack wrapped in a towel or a face towel immersed in cold water is also helpful with the condition. The cold helps lessen the swelling and pain in the area.
- Immobilize the hand by wrapping it using an elastic bandage to help minimize movement of the hands that can make the condition worse.
- Elevate the damaged knuckle above the level of the heart to help in draining blood from the area and minimize any bleeding from any open wounds and also lessen the swelling of the area.
- Consume turmeric and crushed fresh garlic flakes mixed with raw honey to lessen pain.
- Stick with a diet rich in calcium and increase the intake of dairy products, soy and green leafy vegetables. Take calcium and magnesium supplements. Magnesium helps with the absorption of calcium in the body.
- Once swelling and inflammation is minimized, the affected area can be strapped to the next finger in order to keep the knuckles straight for at least 2-3 weeks so that the fracture can fully heal.