Bennett Fracture: Cause & Treatments

A Bennett fracture happens when the bone located at the base of the thumb dislocates and breaks. It can be due to a sudden trauma during high impact sports or accidents. A Bennett fracture will result in swelling of the thumb, pain and the inability to use the thumb. In this article, we will look at the causes and treatments for Bennett fractures.


The causes of a Bennett’s fracture can differ. However, it happens when the metacarpal bone located in the arm fractures and breaks. This can be due to any kind of forces that will result in a huge impact sufficient to break it.


Treatment is classified into non-surgical and surgical. For minor cases where the bones are not misaligned, non-surgical will be more than sufficient. The initial stages of treatment will involve the famous RICE therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Resting involves immobilising the injured hand and preventing any stresses on it. During this period, the patient is not allowed to participate in any activities. Several times a day, the injured thumb will need to be iced in order to bring down the swelling. To prevent swelling and loss of blood, compression finger sleeves may be worn. This will also help to retain body heat and enhance blood circulation. Lastly, the injured thumb needs to be elevated above the heart to drain away excess blood. Bracing and casting may be required depending on the activity level of individual patients.

Surgical treatment is also classified into invasive and minimally invasive. In minimally invasive surgery, a surgical wire will be inserted through a small incision aided by cameras. However, this method is highly dependent on the stability of the injury and the alignment of the metacarpal bone. If the bones fragments are scattered, an invasive surgery will need to be carried out in order to remove these bone fragments. A small screw will be used to hold the fragments together until they heal on their own. One popular surgical treatment is the Kirschner wire fixation. The K-wires are made up of surgical grade stainless steel and are temporary fixation tools. The pins are drilled into the bones and act as an anchor point for skeletal traction.

Unlike other injuries, Bennett’s fracture cannot really be prevented due to the various uses of the hand and the fingers. However, this fracture can be avoided to a certain extent using medical tapes to tape the thumb and index finger together.




All about Thumb Fractures

Our thumb only takes up roughly 15% of our hand. However, do not belittle it! The function of our thumb contributes to 50% of the entire function of the hand! As such, a fractured thumb is actually a pretty serious injury. Fractures in the thumb will result in the inability to grip an item properly and lead to problems in your daily lives. In this article, we will be talking about thumb fractures.

There are 2 bones in our thumb namely the distal phalange and the proximal phalange. The former is located from the tip of the thumb all the way back to the knuckle while the latter is from the knuckle to the base of the thumb. Fractures usually occur near the joints especially the wrist due to the tremendous amount of usage and stresses it faces day in day out. 2 of the most common fractures are the Bennett and Rolando fractures which involves the breaking of bones near the base of the thumb.

The Bennett fracture is a fracture of the thumb with subluxation. This is considered a serious injury and immediate medical attention needs to be sought. Failure to perform timely medical care may result in the disability of the thumb due to the pinching effect and opposition function of the thumb itself. The main cause of a Bennett’s fracture is due to a direct impact onto a semi-flexed first thumb such as during punching with a clenched fist. This action and position will cause the muscle tendon to pull the distal metacarpal fragment. Symptoms of this fracture includes acute and severe pain following by swelling with significant loss of movement.

The next fracture is the Rolando fracture. It is generally similar to the Bennett fracture but the nature is slightly more complex. It is also caused by a sudden impact force such as during the delivery of a punch. The injured thumb may be displaced out of shape due to the immense forces present and immediate swelling and bruising is visible. The main difference is that a Rolando fracture will result in the fragmentation of the base of the metatarsal into 2 to 3 separate segments looking like a T or Y shape.

Minor thumb fractures can be treated with an immobilisation of the finger for a period of 4 to 6 weeks and the fracture will heal on its own. A protective cast will need to be worn throughout that period. For serious cases, surgery is required and the bone fragments will be fixed using either pins or screws.