Metacarpal Fracture and Dislocation Follow-up

Updated: Sep 07, 2018
  • Author: David R Steinberg, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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The patient recovering from a metacarpal fracture and/or dislocation may be able to return to nonstrenuous activities at 6-8 weeks. Unprotected participation in contact sports should be avoided for 3 months.



See the list below:

  • Painful or prominent hardware may need to be removed after the metacarpal fracture has fully healed.

  • Angular or rotational malunions that substantially affect hand function may be treated with osteotomy.

  • Nonunions are rare. Patients who desire to avoid surgery can try using external bone-growth stimulators. Definitive treatment usually consists of surgical take-down of the nonunion, followed by stabilization and bone grafting.

  • Posttraumatic arthritis may occur after any intra-articular injury.

    • Conservative treatment consists of joint protection, activity modification, and judicious use of corticosteroid injections.

    • Standard pharmacologic treatment for arthritis may also be considered.

    • Relatively severe cases may require surgery, including osteotomy, arthroplasty, or arthrodesis.



Hand injuries are difficult to completely prevent in active individuals, particularly those involved in high-risk contact sports. Buddy-taping of previously injured fingers may help prevent further fractures and dislocations.



After an appropriate period for healing and rehabilitation, most patients regain relatively normal use of the hand. Some residual stiffness or weakness is not entirely unusual.