Post image for My Home-made Brace for an Unstable 4th Metacarpal Fracture

My Home-made Brace for an Unstable 4th Metacarpal Fracture

As I had mentioned in the previous post I was not too happy with the brace I was given at the orthopedist.  It kept my ring and pinkie finger extended but did nothing to keep the actual fracture point stable and aligned.

I could move the bone around quite easily and that worried me because I feared it wouldn’t heal correctly and I’d have horrible arthritis, or I wouldn’t have the grip strength I needed for grappling and working out.  I could use my left thumb and pointing finger to align the fracture and with just a little pressure keep the bone in place.

Of course I couldn’t use my healthy hand to keep the bones aligned 24/7 so I began to look for a solution, starting with the trusty internet.  I needed something that would have pressure coming down to a point, kind of like a c-clamp.  The closest thing I saw online that seemed like it would work is the Galveston Brace, which was only sold to hospitals and doctors offices…which didn’t make sense to me at all!

G-Brace

I became a little desperate and looked at home depot to see if I could use some kind of fastener that could clamp down on my hand and came away with a monstrosity of a tool that was really awkward, some kind of plastic clamp that was about a foot long and cost $13 bucks.

I used it for all of 5 minutes before conceding that it wouldn’t work and began to rack my head for other solutions.  It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and the saying certainly applied here.  I needed two things:

1. I needed to create the pressure that would force the bones to align, like my left hand was doing

2. I needed for it to be unobtrusive, as in I could not have it greatly impede semi normal activities

With those two guidelines in mind I began to look around for something I could actually make myself.  I began with an 1-1/2″ spaced curling wire and an 1-1/4″ x 2″ piece of metal.  I marked where I needed the pressure to be and epoxied the metal onto the wire frame.  This created the top pressure I needed.  I also began to wrap where the bottom pressure was going to come from with electrical tape until I was satisfied with the pressure.

Early model of home-made brace for metacarpal fracture

I played around with the basic design and basically added athletic tape where I needed to in order to make it more comfortable and create more pressure.  I’d also like to note that I taped up my injured ring finger to my middle finger to stabilize it even more.  I had originally taped the ring finger and the pinkie finger together but I felt that my injured ring finger was slightly rotating towards the pinkie and felt much better since the switch to the middle finger.

I have almost no pain in the hand, just a really unhinged feeling when I don’t have a brace on.  Even so I have another orthopedist appointment scheduled for Monday exactly 1 week from the original visit to consult with the surgeon about pinning the bone.  My hope is that he will be amazed that the bone is aligned and healing properly and tell me that there is no need for a surgery but I am not too hopeful at the moment since I can still feel the bone moving around when I don’t have the brace on.

Here is a picture of the brace I have been wearing for the last 4-5 days, sorry it’s a bit dirty!

Home made brace for an unstable 4th metacarpal fracture Bottom pressure of home made metacarpal brace

I don’t want to take a chance with the rest of my life on having the full use of my hand so if he insists I will probably relent and go with surgery but I hate the idea!  I feel like the home-made brace is working but it could be hurting it for all I know.  I will ask the surgeon and I will report on my progress and consultation with the surgeon in subsequent posts.

If you don’t want to try your hand at making a brace here are some  braces from Amazon that could work nicely.

To all those that are suffering from the same injury…don’t you wish you hadn’t punched that _________?