The fifth metacarpal. It pops near the knuckle and drives the fracture back toward the wrist. The result is a swollen knobbed protrusion atop the backhand. Some instances require surgery, while others will heal themselves. Either way, the owner of the metacarpal will have a mounded lump atop the hand for the foreseeable future. Sometimes, the “boxer’s” fracture is referred to as the “bar room” fracture. Occasionally, the “scrapper’s” fracture.

Non-medical hand enthusiasts may interject that each of these terms (boxer’s, bar room, scrapper’s) refers specifically to the fracture of a particular metacarpal. A “boxer’s” fracture commonly impacts the hands smallest bones – those of the fifth (pinky) metacarpal. According to WebMD, boxer’s fractures most commonly occur “during fist fights or from punching a hard object such as a wall or filing cabinet.

So, first step to prevention might be to stop punching walls and filing cabinets. WebMD goes on to suggest “the key to preventing boxer’s fractures is to avoid situations in which the injury can occur. Boxer’s fractures most commonly occur during fistfights and when someone punches a hard object in anger or frustration. Avoiding these situations can reduce significantly the risk of sustaining a boxer’s fracture. In addition, decreasing the loss of bone that occurs naturally with age also is critical. This can be accomplished with regular exercise and calcium supplements or adequate intake of dairy products”.

A boxer’s fracture can result in a diminutive knuckle on the fifth metacarpal, and what’s coined by medical doctors as “malrotation”. If this is the case, grip strength is compromised, and the balance of the finger positioning is kiltered.

Do you know which profession is not typically prone to boxer’s fractures? The answer is Boxing. This, I suppose, is because a face is more forgiving than a wall. And also because boxers are trained not to smash their primary tools.