Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

Our son broke his thumb while out at the local skate park. The surgeon called it a Bennett fracture. What is this exactly?

Answer:

Bennett's fracture is a break in the first metacarpal bone. This is the bone at the base of the thumb where it attaches to the wrist. This is called the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. Bennett's fracture is named after the physician (Edward Bennett, M.D.) who was the first one to describe it back in 1882.

Bennett's fracture is the most common break in the thumb. It is actually a fracture and dislocation at the base of the joint of the thumb. The fracture occurs with trauma when the thumb is flexed in a fisted position. Fist fights frequently result in this type of injury.

Skaters who land on the partially flexed thumb have also been known to suffer a Bennett's fracture. Treatment is usually surgical. The thumb is reduced or relocated in the joint. If any of the ligaments are ruptured, reconstruction is required to restore motion and function.

A stable, strong thumb is needed to accomplish the many movements of this joint. Opposition to the other fingers is the most complex, yet functional motion of the CMC joint. Many ligaments and muscles are involved with this joint and must be repaired in order to restore full function. B. Bosmans, MD, et al. Traumatic Thumb Carpometacarpal Joint Dislocations. In Journal of Hand Surgery. March 2008. Vol. 33A. No. 3. Pp. 438-441.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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