Bone Fractures | A Randomized Trial Comparing Conventional Plaster and Thermoplastic Splints to Treat Pediatric Boxer's Fractures

Bone Fractures research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

The investigators are conducting a randomized clinical trial comparing two types of splints for treatment of Boxer's fractures in children up to age 17 inclusive. Patients who meet inclusion criteria will be randomized to either Group A or B. Group A will be treated with the conventional plaster ulnar gutter splint. Group B will be treated with a custom molded thermoplastic hand-based splint. The thermoplastic splint will provide support of the metacarpal but does not immobilize the patient's wrist or interphalangeal joints. Hypothesis: Is plaster splint immobilization an equivalent treatment method to a custom made thermoplastic splint for a fifth metacarpal neck fracture? Will one splint be tolerated better than the other and will the compliance be different between the two groups?

Who is eligible to participate?

Inclusion Criteria: - Isolated 5th metacarpal neck fracture - Less than 10 days from injury Exclusion Criteria: - Multiple Metacarpal fractures - Significant injuries to other hand structures (tendons, nerves, major arteries)

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?

Bone Fractures


Metacarpal Fracture

Boxer's Fracture

Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.

Other:Plaster Ulnar Gutter SplintPatients are placed in a plaster ulnar gutter splint, molded in the safe position.

Other:Thermoplastic SplintThermoplastic Splint is heat moulded to the patient's hand, stabilizing the metacarpal heads, but not immobilizing any joints. This is done by our occupational therapist.

Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

Plaster Ulnar Gutter SplintPatients will have their hand placed in a conventional Plaster ulnar gutter splint. This immobilizes all joints of the ring and small fingers and the wrist

Thermoplastic SplintPatients will be fitted with a custom molded thermoplastic splint that stabilizes the metacarpals of the injured hand but does not immobilize any joints

Study Status


Start Date: December 2012

Completed Date: June 2014

Phase: N/A

Type: Interventional


Primary Outcome: Range of Motion

Secondary Outcome: Pain

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator: Michael Bezuhly, MD, MSc, SM

Lead Sponsor: IWK Health Centre


More information:

Hunter JM, Cowen NJ. Fifth metacarpal fractures in a compensation clinic population. A report on one hundred and thirty-three cases. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1970 Sep;52(6):1159-65.

Discuss Fracture