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What to do for knuckle swelling that develops during the martial arts training ?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 9086 Questions
Hello my name is XXXXXXX I am 16 and I've been studying martial arts for many years. I began to break boards about 2 months ago to develop my knuckles. I went to the doctor because there was an indent in my middle finger knuckle that you could visible see for about 3 weeks. I had it x-ray at two different times with a months' time in between each x-ray; but they saw nothing. I was prescribed to take Motrin for kid's after a week, my knuckle swelling went down but not a full 100%. It was still about 85% but there was no pain. When I punched the bag during a regular workout, I felt no pain either. Why is that only when I start to break boards to condition my hands, why does my knuckle continue to swell on the right hand only? The left hand does not swell at all; it appears to be normal.The last time I did this was about a month ago; I started today and the swelling came back again, as if this was the first time that I had done this. This is a general part of my training, what should I do?
Posted Thu, 12 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
A swelling on the knuckle is most likely due to a hairline fracture which is sometimes not visible on an X-ray. An MRI is the best way to diagnose minor hair line fractures. Due to repeated trauma or stress the fracture is unable to heal properly.
You need to give adequate rest to your hand till your swelling completely disappears- for around six weeks.
Meanwhile do a hot fomentation at least thrice daily on the area for the swelling and inflammation to subside. You can use flexall also on your hand.
I hope this answers your query effectively.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Wishing you good health.

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