Hand and Wrist Injuries in Elite Boxing: A Longitudinal Prospective Study (2005-2012) of the Great Britain Olympic Boxing Squad

Hand (N Y). 2017 Mar;12(2):181-187. doi: 10.1177/1558944716642756. Epub 2016 Jul 8.


Background: The purpose of this investigation was to explore prospectively the nature and duration of hand and wrist injuries in training and competition in the Great Britain (GB) amateur boxing squad between 2005 and 2012. Methods: Longitudinal prospective injury surveillance of the GB boxing squad was performed from 2005 to 2012. The location, region affected, description, and the duration of each injury were recorded by the team doctor and team physiotherapist. We recorded whether the injury occurred during competition or training and also whether it was a new or a recurrent injury. The injury rate during competition was calculated as the number of injuries per 1000 hours. Results: Finger carpometacarpal instability and finger metacarpophalangeal joint extensor hood and capsule sprain also known as "boxer's knuckle" injuries were significantly more common than other injury diagnoses. The number of injuries during training or competition was similar, which is remarkable given the far greater number of training hours than competition hours performed. Injury rate for hand and wrist injuries in competition was 347 injuries per 1000 hours, while the estimated injury rate in training was <0.5 injuries per 1000 hours. Conclusion: Carpometacarpal instability and boxer's knuckle were more common than any other kind of hand and wrist injury in this cohort of elite amateur boxers. The rate of hand and wrist injuries was higher in competition than in training. Our study highlights the importance of hand and wrist injury prevention in the competition environment.

Keywords: boxing; hand; injuries; sport; wrist.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Boxing / injuries*
  • Carpometacarpal Joints / injuries
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Finger Injuries / epidemiology
  • Finger Injuries / etiology
  • Hand Injuries / epidemiology
  • Hand Injuries / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / epidemiology
  • Joint Instability / etiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Metacarpophalangeal Joint / injuries
  • Prospective Studies
  • Return to Sport
  • Time Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Wrist Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wrist Injuries / etiology*
  • Young Adult