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Broken metacarpal (Read 542 times)

gme

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Broken metacarpal
September 04, 2017, 05:15:42 pm
I managed to break the metacarpal in my little finger two weeks ago and looking to see if anyone has done similar.
I didn't have to have a cast on just a splint. It is amazing how little you can do with it so not able to train, climb, lift weights, do rings or even ride my bike as too much pain. It's feeling like it's improving this last few days now so going to start on the fingerboard with 3 fingers max. Feels like I could manage this now.
Anyone got experience with this injury, should I just man up and climb on it with a bit of pain or is this not a good idea. I was told total rest by the consultants but what do they know there only experts.

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#1 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 04, 2017, 08:56:24 pm
Yes, but a long time back.
As a somewhat temperamental twenty something, I punched a towel hanging on one of those ring type, towel hanging thingies, hitting said thingy squarely with the knuckle of my right pinky. This left my right pinky sticking out at 90* to my other fingers.
I believe it is known as the "Boxer's Break".
A kindly Surgeon Commander informed me that nothing could be done and it would remain like that for the rest of.
He said this whilst still holding my hand, as I started to curse at the thought, he grabbed the finger and yanked it back into place.
I screamed like the class sissy.

It was out of action, completely for four weeks, in bandage and splint, but I was climbing, fighting and working etc within six weeks.
I did completely rest it for the four, though.

I have a kink in the bone, like an extra knuckle, but no other sequela, save an aversion to punching inanimate objects not designed for such.

Nibile

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#2 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 04, 2017, 10:45:44 pm
Hey Matt!
I don't understand whether you broke your finger or your hand bone.

Anyway, as a somewhat temperamental - and stupid - twenty something, I punched a guy in the head and landed with the external part of my hand, immediately separating one of the two heads of the fifth bone, on the wrist side.
As soon as the doctor saw it, he asked "Were you involved in a fistfight?" "No sir, I fell on my hand." "Yes, and you got a boxer's fracture?"
Anyway, it's been a fucking nightmare.
Take in mind that I had a complete separation with even a few mm of space in between the two parts (because after breaking it I kept on making a fist to understand if it was really broken...), surely yours is not as bad.
Anyway, one fucking week in a fucking splint to let the swelling reduce, then six fucking weeks in a fucking cast. Came out as tender as a well cooked steak. So fragile and painful.
It took a lot of patience and time.
Warning: when the bone will be completely healed, the tendons will probably have shortened and weakened quite a lot. Be ware. Take it easy.
A couple of months after the fracture I managed to fucking fuck my ring finger.
While putting on a climbing shoe.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 10:52:02 pm by Nibile »

Oldmanmatt

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#3 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 04, 2017, 10:54:59 pm
No, no, the hand. My palm is now slightly curved...

Nibile

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#4 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 04, 2017, 10:59:07 pm
Ah right.
Same here, but on the wrist side.
Bad bad memories.

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#5 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 05, 2017, 09:50:43 pm
I smashed my ring finger metacarpal aged 14. It looked like someone had inserted a golf ball under the back of my hand. Split into 2 separate pieces of bone ''Have you been boxing?'' said the doctor, very embarrassed to admit I'd just punched a desk at school (an accident, I'll spare the details). Odd feeling as the doctor jiggled and scrunched them back together (under a local, no pain but full sensation).

Had a forearm the size of a twig after 6 weeks in plaster.. but it was right as rain, bar some permanent thickening around the break site.

I wouldn't worry Gav, just be patient and let it heal. Take up running or something for a month or two.

BicepsMou

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#6 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 06, 2017, 12:52:04 pm
I ripped my metacarpal 2 (index finger) of my right hand apart 18 months ago while bouldering. Held an undercling in a twisted, awkward way and literally smashed the bone with active force against the hold, no fall involved (at least before the break). Made a loud cracking noise as from a large piece of dry wood so I first thought that the (plastic) grip was broken, but then saw my hand was in kind of a strange position. Turned out that the bone was in 4 pieces, so had surgery and a metal plate inserted.

I tried to move and use the hand normally in daily life as soon as mostly pain-free (and wound from surgery healed a bit up) to enhance blood flow and maintain mobility. If you keep it to still, the joints / tendons / ligaments will stiffen up and loose mobility. But no serious loads (e.g. hangboarding) for first (4 to) 6 weeks. The bones absolutely need to build up some new bone tissue to reconnect. If you load too much in this period and re-damage again and again the fresh break, it is very counter-productive to long term healing success. So take it easy in that period!

After this first healing phase (6 weeks for me), I gradually re-introduced hangboarding with lower loads, more repeater-style than max hangs. Re-started bouldering after 8 weeks and went back to full loads on board and wall by ~10 weeks. Was then (and since then) completely pain-free, no issues with mobility or other and full feeling of stability. Have the metal plate still in place but does not disturb.

BUT, what helped me A LOT during injury was to do unilateral strength maintenance training. Without going into physiological details, if you apply a unilateral training load on a limb, the opposite side will also benefit from a (smaller) training stimulus, via the neural connections on the respective spine segment. So you can work the opposite (healthy) hand and use this stimulus to maintain strength (to a certain degree) on the injured side.

For me this worked extremely well: I did one-armed hangboard hangs (taking away weight via pulley) on the left hand. Left hand was always my (slightly) weaker side. When re-starting training after 6-8 weeks, the hands were almost equal, so the strength loss in right (injured) hand was nowhere near what I had feared after this long layoff. 4-6 months back into training, my right hand was again dominant / stronger.

In summary, what helped me the most:

   Use the hand normally in daily life ASAP to enhance blood flow and maintain mobility. But stay out of the real pain zone (slight discomfort OK)
   Let the bone time to heal before applying serious loads
   Re-start gradually when building up training again
   Use uni-lateral strength maintenance training

And it is very likely that there will be no longer term restrictions to your hand, so take it easy and try to stay positive :-)
Best of luck!


gme

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#7 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 06, 2017, 01:27:54 pm
Thanks for the responses. My break does not seem anywhere near as bad as the ones you have all had.

I am now 2 1/2 weeks into the rest and it is starting to feel like its healing to a point where i can start to think about using it. Going to go down the deadhanging route from this weekend working 2 and three finger hangs and also one arm on my right after reading BicepsMou post.

I hung on my rings as well and this seems possible if you hold them correctly, it seems that pressure causes more problems than pulling.

I have always been a believer of just getting on with things as long as they dont hurt too much but in relation to soft tissue damage. With little experience with breaks and am concerned that movement and load is detrimental to the healing process.

SA Chris

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#8 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 06, 2017, 04:58:26 pm
You may have to take up bodyboarding

Snoops

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#9 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 06, 2017, 05:46:00 pm
Thanks for the responses. My break does not seem anywhere near as bad as the ones you have all had.

I am now 2 1/2 weeks into the rest and it is starting to feel like its healing to a point where i can start to think about using it. Going to go down the deadhanging route from this weekend working 2 and three finger hangs and also one arm on my right after reading BicepsMou post.

I hung on my rings as well and this seems possible if you hold them correctly, it seems that pressure causes more problems than pulling.

I have always been a believer of just getting on with things as long as they dont hurt too much but in relation to soft tissue damage. With little experience with breaks and am concerned that movement and load is detrimental to the healing process.

Sounds like your be fine. Funnily enough I broke mine boxing 6 weeks ago.
Left it a few days as well as thought it was just bruised...til my hand went blue
I had mine in a few on cast for 4 weeks, it was very stiff and weak after but now seems fine 6.5 weeks down the line.. and I'm 42 :-)

it is a pain... but spare a thought for those who who lose an arm for good........

gme

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#10 Re: Broken metacarpal
September 06, 2017, 05:55:44 pm
I have never been worried about it at all juts keen to get back to training so i can salvage the autumn.