Metacarpal fractures

Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

Metacarpal fractures are common. Fracture of the metacarpal bones account for 10% of all fractures and 40% of all hand fractures. The lifetime incidence of a metacarpal fracture is 2.5%.

Specific names are given to fractures of the base of the first metacarpal (see: fractures of the thumb):

Specific names are given to fractures of the fifth metacarpal:

Fractures of the 5th metacarpal make up 25% of all metacarpal fractures (which equates to 10% of all hand fractures. 

They are a result of direct or indirect trauma with the nature and direction of the force being directly related to the type of injury. Specific injury patterns include:

  • carpometacarpal (CMC) joint injury: metacarpal base fractures and dislocation of the CMC joint
  • metacarpal shaft and neck fractures: these are usually a result of axial loading or direct trauma (clenched fist and solid surface); torsional force may also result in this type of injury
  • metacarpal head injury: these are intra-articular fractures that result from axial loading or direct trauma; collateral ligament avulsion fractures are caused by forced deviation of the flexed metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ).
  • metacarpophalangeal joint dislocations: dorsal MCPJ dislocations are the most frequent and a result of forced hyperextension of the digit

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Article Information

rID: 6448
Tags: fracture, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Metacarpal fracture
  • Metacarpal fracture types

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    Case 1: little finger MC fracture
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    Case 2: 5th metacarpal fracture
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    Base of 5th MC fr...
    Case 3: little finger MC fracture
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    Case 4: 4th metacarpal fracture
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    Case 6: undisplaced spiral of 4th and 5th shafts
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