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Fifth metacarpal fracture

Patient information A-Z

What is a fifth metacarpal fracture?

You have broken one of the long bones found in the palm of your hand. The location of the break will depend on how the injury happened. This injury can occur in a variety of ways from falling onto an outstretched hand, falling off your bike or hitting something with a clenched fist.

You may see a bump on the back of your hand over where the fracture is.

X-Ray of hand on left, on the right is a left hand with the to fingers on the right in bandage
Fifth metacarpal fracture

Swelling and bruising at the fracture site is normal. Simple, over- the- counter pain killers and applying ice to the area will help to reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied, wrapped in a tea towel, for 20 minutes three to four times a day.

These fractures can be protected by strapping the fractured finger to the finger next to it. This may be done by taping your fingers together or using a double tubigrip. This acts as a splint to protect the healing bone from too much strain, but also allows for early movement of your fingers. Spare tubigrip splints will be sent out by the clinic.

You should:

  • keep the strapping on at all times, even at night. The strapping should just be removed for hygiene purposes.
  • move your fingers whilst wearing the strapping to prevent your joints from becoming stiff.
  • elevate your affected hand in the early days after your injury to help reduce the swelling.
  • avoid contact sports for six weeks after injury.

You should not:

  • wear any rings on this hand until the injured finger has healed.
  • grip or lift anything heavy until you reach the end of the strapping period.
  • miss your appointment with the hand specialist or hand therapist if one has been requested.

Please remember:

Please contact your GP if your condition is not improving, or if your pain relief is not adequate. If your condition is worsening, please contact the multi professional fracture clinic, call 01223 348299 or call 01223 257095 For more information please visit: Fracture information website (opens in a new tab).

For any concerns on wounds email the fracture information team Please include your hospital number and any photos of your wounds that you would like to be reviewed.

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151