The metacarpals relate to the composite bone segments forming the articulating juncture between the proximal carpometacarpal joint(s) and the distal metacarpophalangeal joint(s) within the corresponding five fingers that provide leverage for manual tasks. The metacarpals run lengthwise in a parallel direction to the wrist on the backside of the hand, ending with the knuckles.
The biomechanical functionality of the metacarpals dictates an individual’s ability to execute manual tasks that can range from handling objects to the operation of heavy machinery. Although hand injuries can occur in any line of work, many industrial sectors carry essential job tasks that pose immediate dangers for employees that can result in bone fractures of the metacarpals. The Department of Labor highlights the proportion of hand injuries to marked worker’s compensation claims that employers are liable to cover.
After an individual sustains a metacarpal fracture, a surgeon assesses the injury to gauge the relative displacement of the impaired extremity. A padded splint is an application commonly used for helping to realign a damaged metacarpal, examined by periodic X-rays to chart its progress. In the workplace, older demographics are more likely to undergo protracted recovery times, especially following surgeries placing economic constraints on the bottom line for employers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stipulates practical guidelines for employers to provide educational resources and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the hands. Rehabilitation techniques for metacarpal injuries can improve healing along with maximizing range of motion (ROM) through various treatments.