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What Can Cause Knuckle Pain in Boxers & How to Manage & Prevent It?

Boxing is a form of sport that happens to be highly demanding for the athlete. Sportspersons who indulge in this particular sport not only have to follow a rigorous training regime but also a very simple yet strict dietary chart. Boxers are also at an increased risk of getting inflicted with some serious bruises in the course of practice. The most common place where a boxer gets hurt is his hand, palms or the knuckles precisely. This type of knuckle pain is often referred to as ‘boxer’s fracture’ or ‘brawler’s fracture’.

What Can Cause Knuckle Pain in Boxers?

What Can Cause Knuckle Pain in Boxers?

It has been seen that boxers often get bruises or gets hurt on their knuckles at the time of boxing or punching. Knuckle Pain and Injury is more common among beginners or those boxers who are not yet well trained. Commonly, boxers get their knuckle pain after punching on a hard object with a closed fit. If the punching is done on a hard surface such as a wall or maybe a cabinet then the chances of getting hurt become all the more evident. Once again it has been seen that boxers can get this pain even if they clench their fist at the time of punching(1, 2).

How to Manage Knuckle Pain in Boxers?

Management for knuckle pain in boxers can be divided into two broad parts – medical treatment and self-care at home. However, before we do evaluate both the sections and go in discussing the sections in detail, we must understand that what comes even before treatment is the proper diagnosis of the condition. Hence, if you feel that the discomfort is too much visiting a doctor immediately and getting all the clinical and physical tests done is more than imperative.

Medical Treatment for Knuckle Pain in Boxers

The procedure of medical treatment that is used in the context of knuckle pain for the boxers is to render the affected hand immobile and allow the hand to heal as fast and possible. Along with this, the doctor also aims to elevate the pain that is there in the knuckles. The kinds of medical treatment include:

  • Splint: The best way to immobilize the affected hand is with the use of splint. The splint helps to immobilize the joints both below and above the affected site. There are large number of different types and forms of splints that can be used in such contexts. In one form of the splint, the fingertips happen to be exposed. There is yet again another type of splint where the little finger and the ring finger is buddy taped. This type of splint can easily treat a fracture or a hurt in the little finger. In any case of knuckle pain or any form of hurt where the knuckles and the fingers are involved, a certain number of angulations of the metacarpal bone are necessary(3). The nature and the extent of these angulations will decide on the type of treatment that will be required for the knuckle and also the kind of splint that will be the most effective.
  • Surgical Repair for Knuckle Pain in Boxer’s: In certain cases due to the angulations, the second and the third metacarpal bone may need a surgical repair(4). In case there is a fracture in the fourth and the fifth metacarpal bones it may require surgery, especially if the angulations are a large one.
  • Pain Management for Knuckle Pain in Boxer’s: Pain is one of the main symptoms of this condition. Hence, effective pain management with the help of anti-inflammatory drugs is really important. This can be done with proper pain relievers. Some of the effective pain relievers are Acetaminophen or ibuprofen. However, these should be taken only under expert guidance as they can have side effects.

Self-care for Knuckle Pain in Boxer’s

Self or home care for pain in knuckles can be broadly divided into two groups – care prior to visiting the doctor and secondly care after visiting the doctor and a diagnosis. Let us take a look at both of them:

Self-care before seeing a Doctor

The main aim of providing self-care for knuckles pain for a boxer is reducing the pain, managing swelling and also minimizing the risk of infections in the area of the open cuts. The aim here is to see that the fracture or the skin breakage does not become any worse. The following steps can be taken:

  • The simplest and most common method of managing pain and swelling is to apply a basic ice pack to the injured or the affected area. However, if ice is not readily available then placing a wet cold towel on the injured area is a good idea. You can also elevate the hand that will help to reduce the swelling.
  • In case there is a cut in the knuckles, it is always advisable that they are must be washed with lukewarm water and cover the bruise with a clean bandage. This helps the cut to heal and also prevents infection in the place.
  • The best way to help such affected hand heal is through immobilizing the hand as well as possible. If a bruised and a hurt hand are moved around and are worked too much, it can aggravate the condition and can make it all the more worse.

Self or Home Care soon after Diagnosis

  • The most basic home or self-care that can be taken or provided soon after the diagnosis is administering the medicines at the right time. In such a physical condition, the pain management medicines are the most basic medicines that are given to the affected person. These medicines should be given at the right time for the best effects and to avoid side effects(1).
  • One of the most common forms of treatment is to give a casting or a splinting. However, if the splinting or the casting is too tight then the pain may increase. The fingers can become cold to touch. In such a situation the grip of the splint or the cast must be made loose. The splint or the cast must be kept as comfortable as possible.
  • Treating the skin breakages and the open cuts are important. Hence, while self-caring for knuckle pains it is important to treat the cuts and the stitches if any in a proper manner. This helps the place to heal well and also prevent the occurrence of any infection.

Prevention of Knuckle Pain in Boxer’s

Prevention is better than cure. All of us have heard this saying and most of us will agree to it. The knuckle pain of the boxers is no different. Hence let us take a look at some of the basic ways through which we can steer clear away from the situation(5).

  • Training is one of the most elemental aspects that can help a boxer to stay clear from any form of knuckle pain or any severe injury in the region. Hence before you start your rigorous practice, be sure to train hard.
  • Knuckle pain mostly happen when a person punches hard on a hard surface with fists close in a fit of fury. It is always prudent to avoid such instances, events, and such violent reactions.
  • With age, try to take better care of your bones. Hence, take a diet that is rich in calcium and phosphorus and exercise regularly.

Although it is said that knuckle pain is common in the case of boxers, it is not just the boxers who could develop the condition. Even a common man can develop knuckle pain. The above-mentioned treatment and self-care procedures can be a great help in that case as well. However, in all the cases, careful monitoring of the symptoms and taking apprpriate care is elemental.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 4, 2020

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