Management of metacarpal fractures

Journal of Hand Therapy : Official Journal of the American Society of Hand Therapists
Thomas B McNemarEric Chang

Abstract

Fractures of the hand are the most common fractures of the human skeleton. Metacarpal fractures account for 30% to 50% of all of hand fractures. The mechanisms of these injuries vary from axial loading forces to direct blows to the dorsal hand. Resulting deformities include malrotation, angulation, and shortening. Treatment modalities vary from nonoperative reduction to open reduction and internal fixation. The treatment algorithm is guided by the location of the fracture, the stability of the fracture, and the resultant deformity. Operative procedures, although they may lead to excellent radiographic reduction of fractures, often lead to debilitating stiffness from the inflammatory reaction of the surgical procedure. Operative fixation must be employed judiciously and offered only when confident that non-operative therapy can be improved on with operative intervention. This article reviews the various types of metacarpal fractures, with the treatment options available for each fracture. The indications for each treatment modality, postoperative care, and rehabilitation are presented.

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Related Concepts

Metacarpal Bone
Diagnostic Radiologic Examination
Fracture

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