I am pretty resigned to having surgery for my boxers fracture of the 4th metacarpal on my right hand based upon all the information I could find online and input from everyone who saw my x-rays. I still had a glimmer of hope that my home – made brace would somehow miraculously realign the bones and begin healing without surgery.
After getting a fresh set of x-rays taken I was waiting for the surgeon for almost 45 minutes, plenty of time to think about all the things that could go wrong with the healing in my hand and how long I would be out of commission in the gym and in Jiu Jitsu. My biggest issue however was the longevity of my hand, since I am a pretty physically active guy, having pain or significant strength loss in my hand would be devastating. It was the number one reason that I was willing to consider surgery. So by the time the surgeon actually came to consult with me I was convinced he was taking so long because he was prepping for my surgery!
Turns out he doesn’t think I need surgery! He looked at my home-made brace and grinning, asked me if I made it so I told him what I was trying to accomplish with it. I also said I wanted to get his opinion on whether it was helping or not and he said that he thought it might be helping since the bone is not jutting up towards the top of my hand like it was the week before. They are still not joined together but he said the level that they were at is acceptable and that bone would start to grow around the break and eventually (could take years) straighten out.
The surgeon also told me to keep wearing my home-made brace if I thought it was helping, (and I definitely do). The few times I have lifted anything substantial I could feel the bone straining against the top part of the brace so I know it definitely working.
I asked about any possible long term issues that could arise if I did not get the surgery and was relieved to hear him say that he did not think I would have any long term issues with things like arthritis or grip strength. If I was to have problems and tell him later on that my hand really doesn’t feel right we could do surgery but the surgeon said he did not recommend surgery at this point and that he was optimistic it would heal by itself. Yay!
I really happy that I don’t need surgery as I have never had surgery yet despite all my injuries, in fact this is my first broken bone! I do feel a bit more unstable today after lifting a couple of heavy things at work the day before so I still will have to baby the hand but I feel a lot more optimistic about the whole situation for sure!
I want to mention that I did ask for a doctors note excusing me from Jiu Jitsu, or grapping as I had been paying for the last 6 or 7 months without going due to the head injury from falling of a cliff and now I was going to miss around 6 weeks from this hand injury. If I can’t recoup the money or get credit from the last few months I hope to get the automatic withdraws on hold till I can actively participate again.
If you are involved in martial arts and have an injury that prevents you from participating for an extended period of time, make sure you get a note from the doctor and ask if you can get the payments put on hold!