Exercise Program after a Boxer's Fracture

1
Get Started on Your Boxer's Fracture Exercise Program

Photo of a woman hitting heavy bag.
Your physical therapist can help you recover fully from your boxer's fracture. DanielBendjy/Getty Images

If you have suffered a boxer's fracture, then you may benefit from the skilled services of a physical therapist to help you fully recover. Your PT can assess your hand and arm range of motion (ROM), strength, and function and make recommendations to help you get back to your normal activity.

One part of your rehab for a boxer's fracture is an exercise program. Exercises for a boxer's fracture are designed to help your hand and fingers move better and function normally. Your PT will likely prescribe exercises for you to do as part of a home exercise program.

Here is a step-by-step exercise program that may be similar to one prescribed by your physical therapist or doctor after a boxer's fracture.

Check in with your doctor to be sure exercise is safe for you to do, and then visit your PT to learn which exercises are best for your specific condition.

Ready? Let's get started.

2
Wrist, Hand and Finger Range of Motion

A handgrip dynamometer is used to accurately measure grip strength.
Improving wrist and hand strength can help improve function after a boxer's fracture. © Brett Sears, PT, 2011

If you wore a cast or splint while your boxer's fracture was healing, you may find that your finger, hand, and wrist range of motion is limited once your doctor removes the cast. Your initial exercises prescribed by your PT may be to restore normal ROM.

Exercises may be passive ROM, where your PT does the stretching for you, or your PT may have you start gentle wrist and finger stretches. Move each finger through its full motion - bending and straightening - with a little bit of extra pressure. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds, and do each stretch 5 times.

The motions of the wrist that you should stretch include:

  • Flexion
  • Extension
  • Radial deviation (bending your wrist towards your thumb)
  • Ulnar deviation (bending your wrist towards your pinky)
  • Pronation (turning your wrist and hand over as if you were pouring a drink)
  • Supination (turning your palm up as if you were holding a bowl of soup)

You may also need to perform gentle elbow range of motion exercises if you have been protecting your hand by keeping your entire arm immobilized in a sling. Your PT can show you the best way to improve the way your elbow bends and straightens.

3
Grip Strengthenig Exercises

Picture of the towel handgrip exercise.
The towel handgrip exercise is simple to do. Brett Sears, PT, 2015

After a period of immobilization for a boxer's fracture, your hand muscles may be feeling a little weak. Working on your grip strength may help improve the way your hand functions. Grip strengthening exercises may include:

Your physical therapist can show you the best exercises to do to improve your grip strength after a boxer's fracture.

4
Finger Strengthening Exercises

Image of therapy putty finger exercises.
Use your putty to perform finger abduction. Brett Sears, PT, 2015

Just as strengthening grip may be a part of your boxer's fracture rehab, working to strengthen your finger muscles may be helpful as well. Keeping your fingers strong can help improve your fine motor coordination.

Different ways you can strengthen your finger muscles may include:

  • Working with therapy putty
  • Using elastic rubber bands around your fingers to strengthen them
  • Using a DigiFlex exercise device

Your physical therapist can show you the best way to strengthen your finger muscles after a boxer's fracture.

5
Arm and Shoulder Exercises after Boxer's Fracture

A therapist stretching a patient's shoulder.
Passive Shoulder ROM can be performed by your physical therapist. DNY59

After a period of immobilization while your boxer's fracture is healing, your shoulder and arm muscles may become a bit weak or tight. Working to improve mobility and strength in your arm and shoulder can help you recover fully.

Exercises that may be beneficial may include:

Your physical therapist can show you exactly where to target your upper extremity strengthening exercises to get maximal benefit from your exercise program.

6
Return to Function after Boxer's Fracture

Photo of a woman mechanic working on a car.
Your physical therapist can help you return to normal mobility after a boxer's fracture. Hero Images/ Getty Images

So you've worked on ROM and strength of your shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Now what?

The final piece of the puzzle for your rehab program after a boxer's fracture is to get back to full function. Speak with your PT about some of the things that you are struggling with, and he or she can devise a specific exercise program and suggest strategies to help you maximize your function. Your therapist can assess your overall strength and mobility and make recommendations about what you can do to return to your baseline level of activity.

Dealing with a boxer's fracture can be a difficult thing to do. By working closely with your dcotor and your physical therapist, and by following a rehab program similar to this step-by-step, you can be sure to quickly and safely get back to your normal level of activity.

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