Boxing Injuries – Hand Problems

There’s something about the sweet science that captures the imagination like nothing else. Two men standing across the ring from one another with the sole intention of slamming fists in to each other’s faces, it stiffens the sinews and raises the hair on the back of the neck in a way that only something so primal is capable of.

It’s those slamming fists we’re going to talk about in PhysioRoom blog today. Any workman needs working tools, and while the plumber has his spanner, the painter has his brush, the boxer has only his fists.

So if something were to go wrong with them, it sort of blows up the whole operation. Pretty much every boxer from both the past and modern day have been bugged by at least some minor hand trouble. Such is the price for using body parts as weapons.

That’s why we’re going to take a look at a couple of common hand injuries in boxing and look at some examples of boxers with bad hands. Join us, won’t you…

Boxers Fracture

What is it?

A ‘Boxers Fracture’ is a break in the hand as the ‘neck’ (just below the knuckle) of either the fourth or fifth metacarpal. If you’re still with me, it gets its name because it’s an injury that commonly occurs when punching an immovable object with a closed fist. Some more inclusive doctors may also include fractures to the second and third metacarpal.

Symptoms of ‘Boxers Fracture’ can include, and this may shock you, pain in the hand and swelling. Other less obvious symptoms may include an area of the hand that is tender to the touch, difficulty moving the affected fingers and discolouration of the skin and/or bruising.

Here’s an interesting fact for you, Boxers Fracture occurs in about 20% of patents that punch a hard object. So remember, try not to punch hard stuff.

How can you prevent it?

One word: Technique. For boxers, learning to punch in the correct way is the key to long term hand health. Out of your control is bone density, which will determine to a certain extent how well you cope with constant impact. Last but not least, a healthy, calcium rich diet won’t do you any harm at all.

What should you do if it happens?

Best first up the X-Ray machine in your garage as that’s the only thing that can confirm a diagnosis. Alternatively, you can visit your local hospital.

If the bone is still aligned then the finger may be immobilised in a cast of splint to allow the bone to heal. If the bone is misaligned however, the finger may need to be set and held in place with pins, which means it’s unfortunately surgery for you.

For a splint during your rehab period, check out our range of wrist/thumb/finger supports and braces.

Carpal Bossing

What is it?
Carpal Bossing, as opposed to being an action in which you’re very much in charge of all things carpal, is actually the name given to a condition which causes a lump on the back of the hand at the junction of the long finger bones and the small wrist bones.

As a result of the thinning of the articular cartilage lining, arthritis rears its ugly head and produces a natural response which encourages spurs of new bone, thus causing the areas prominence and swelling.


How can you prevent it?

Carpal Bossing is typically caused after a knock to the back of the wrist so for a boxer, proper punching technique and wearing appropriate equipment is rather vital.

Respite is a key component in injury prevention, i.e. resting up between workouts/activities.

Also always wear hand wraps and try wherever possible to use at least 16oz gloves during sparring sessions. For some glove options try looking at our Hatton products.


What should you do if it happens?

In the first instance, treatment should start with non-operative options while moderating your activity can be effective.

A wrist brace can also help during certain activities, while a doctor could recommend an injection of steroids(don’t try this at home, folks).

For Carpal Bossing to result in surgery is rare but if required it is usually a non-risky affair that has success rates of up to 85%, with most patients having normal hand movement within a couple of days and returning to work within a week or so(yay!).

Examples of Boxers with Hand Troubles

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Perhaps the best modern day example of a boxer having trouble with his hands is that of, to some, the greatest of all time, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Despite Floyd’s stunningly decorated career, he’s had problems with his brittle hands since his days as an amateur, and if you’ve followed his time in boxing, there seemingly hasn’t been a fight before which there hasn’t been rumours about his worrisome hands.

‘Money May’ has changed who wraps his hands several times in his career, first of all he worked with veteran cutman Miguel Diaz at the start of his career.

I the build up to Mayweather’s fight with Manny Pacquiao, Diaz, who was by then working for Pacquiao had some thoughts on Floyds brittle digits.

“He has all the problems in the world with his hands,” said Diaz.

Referring to Floyds trainer and Uncle, Roger Mayweather and his father Floyd Sr., Diaz said:

“They all have the same hands, and the same problems,”

“They didn’t have enough calcium as babies. Their bones did not grow strong.”

For years practices to deal with such problems were walking that fine line, with cornermen often using a syringe before the fight and injecting Novocain into their hands.

That of course has stopped due to modern drug guidelines, with Novacain being banned by Nevada state.

It was in 2014 when Mayweather eventually started working with Bob Ware after spending year working with Rafael Garcia, who as then confined to just cut man duties.

Why Mayweather made the switch is a trade secret, but Ware has revealed that he uses extra tape “in certain places”.

But the padding in his wraps is different, and perfect for those with bad hands, Ware saying:

“My pad is different, definitely. It’s a material I get. … It is just gauze and athletic tape, but you can use a couple different things for the pad, and what I use for Floyd, and other people with bad hands, is pretty good.”

Amir Khan

Khan perhaps isn’t the most obvious candidate for hand troubles. That was until last year when he revealed that he’d been fighting with a broken hand for an incredible 13 years.

The 30-year-old Bolton native also claimed it stopped him from ever truly unleashing power shots with his right hand.

Last year he underwent surgery which involved taking bone from his hip and grafting it on to his damaged hand, all held together by metal pins.

“I’ve only been punching with 30 or 40 per cent power because it was so bad.” Khan told The Sun.

“I kept the news of my hand injury quiet from everyone. I had to because I didn’t want any of my opponents to know about it, I didn’t want to give away an advantage.

“I remember the days when I was boxing with one hand in training but I had to keep on fighting to keep my name up and to get that experience. I had to keep going and keep my name, but my heart wasn’t in it.

“I didn’t want to go into those fights but I had to do it to become a world champion one day. Since then, I have never really thrown a right hand hard with all my might.

“I know people might question why I didn’t get the operation sooner but I couldn’t – I was too set on chasing my dream to become world champion and I was in big fights.

“I was one of the brightest prospects in the UK, the pressure was on me and I had to fight. I couldn’t afford to take six months off for an operation.

“I was getting paid a lot so I didn’t want to kill off my deal with TV, I had such a good deal. I was getting paid for my earlier fights what world champions are getting paid now.

“I had to keep on fighting and keep myself busy. I didn’t want to take a step back because my dream to become world champion would have been delayed.”

David Haye

Haye doesn’t just have injury trouble with his hands, he’s suffered a number of injuries all over his body that have caused him to either underperform or pull out of fights completely.

In fact, before he lost to Wladimir Klitschko in 2011, afterwards citing a broken toe as the reason for his lacklustre performance, he had already pulled out of the fight once before in 2009 with a hand injury.

But perhaps Haye’s most infamous hand injury came during a fight later that year, a fight in which he brought the WBA Heavyweight Title back to Britain.

Fighting the 7ft 2 inch giant Nikolai Valuev, Haye damaged his hand early in the fight, leaving him at an even further disadvantage.

“I damaged my hand in the second or third round so I couldn’t throw too many right hands so I tried to win it extensively with my left hand.” Haye said after the bout.

“My hand is very tender and very store and that’s why I used it very irregular. I found a strategy. I didn’t train to do that.

“I trained to be more aggressive but I hurt my left hand and I had to take my foot off the gas and win it clever and win rounds, and it worked out.”


If you want to stay ahead of the game and keep your hands wrapped up nice and securely, check out our range of boxing wrapping and tapes.



Author: Chris Coates

Tags:  amir han boxers frature boxing boxing hand injury boxing injury carpal bossing david haye floyd mayweather hand injury injuries

Bookmark and Share

Previous Post
What is CTE?
Next Post Foot Health – Introducing Enertor Insoles

You might also like

More Story
What is CTE?

PhysioRoom Newsletter

Sign up to the Physioroom Newsletter to get the best news and deals around!