Fractured 4th Metacarpal Update after Orthopedic Followup

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.

4th Metacarpal Fracture - Follow up X-ray 1 Week Later

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!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle H April 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I had three pins put into the hand. I recovered fairly quickly. The scar is pretty ugly, but I’ve regained movement of my fingers with occupational therapy. It was difficult, but I’m glad I went ahead and did the therapy. I’m about 14 weeks out from surgery now. I can grab things and lift light weights, but I’m waiting on the clearance to lift heavier weights. I have what might be my last follow-up appointment this week.

I’m glad I had the surgery. I started therapy within days of the surgery to regain movement. I didn’t have to spend weeks in a cast and lose that muscle and tendon strength. Removal of the pins is optional. I’m not sure if I am going to do it. Forgive the pun, but they feel like pins and needles and aren’t too bad. We’ll see.

I did lift some light dumbbells two nights ago and my hand is pretty sore. That will be the question for the doc, did I mess anything up!


Jenny Coston March 19, 2013 at 12:20 am

I just had hand surgery in December. I am confused on how long is the recovery time. When does the pain go away.


Donna Tompkins March 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Michelle H. – did you have to have pins or a plate and how are you doing now?


Michelle H. January 16, 2013 at 1:46 am

Just got surgery to put pins in my 4th metacarpal on my left hand. My break was a little different. It was a spiral fracture (imagine a long, diagonal break in the middle of the bone). I could move the finger well, put lifting and spreading fingers was painful. The doc said I would eventually lose movement in the finger because the bones were not touching and wouldn’t heal correctly. I’m ok with it. It took about 45mins. My first therapy session is Friday.


Cody Putnam January 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm

I am going through the same thing! I am very active in highschool sports, and as of yesterday I fractured the same metacarpal, but in my left hand. It’s my senior year, and I was the leader of our Nordic team, and top in the state! I have two month until states and hoping I can get the cast off a little early to compensate for the situation.


admin January 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm

That’s amazing, keep up the hard work Cody!


leila GArcia October 7, 2012 at 9:09 am

Would like to know about the person who got the opetation is my sons opetation is on monday and I m a little worried.


admin September 19, 2012 at 9:32 am

Good luck! Sometimes I think back and have second thoughts still about my decision to not have the surgery. I have nothing that is debilitating but sometimes when I put my hand down to do a push up I can feel the bone hitting a nerve or something because there is shooting pain in my hand. I can usually do some stretching and it goes away though.

I think part of the reason is that I was jumping back into BJJ, before the hand had a chance to heal properly and maybe the bone healed a little crooked.

I don’t know because I never got the surgery!


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