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Effect of Buddy Taping vs Plaster in Boxer’s Fractures – The Buddy Study

Quick facts

Principal investigator:
Dr Richard Pellatt
Team members:
Prof Gerben Keijzers, Dr Ezekiel Tan, Dr Michael Thomas, and Prof Randy Bindra
Project commenced:

Fractures through the neck of the 5th metacarpal (little finger hand bone) are known as Boxer’s Fractures, as they often occur during a punch. Boxer’s fractures are traditionally managed in plaster. But, recently, some have suggested that to ‘buddy tape’ the little and ring fingers together allows similar recovery with full mobilisation advantage. Evidence to recommend one treatment over another is insufficient.

This was a randomised controlled study where patients with Boxer’s fractures were randomised to either plaster or buddy tape. The study found similar functional outcomes at twelve weeks from the two groups, but earlier return to work in the buddy group.

This study also found that buddy taping benefits include:

  • less time spent in emergency
  • simple community follow-up at the patient’s discretion.

“The assumption that all fractures need to be treated with a plaster cast has been challenged, and this study may pave the way for other types of injuries that can be managed with less restrictive measures than plaster.”

—Prof Gerben Keijzers

Grants Awarded

Emergency Medicine Foundation

Emergency Medicine Foundation

Last updated 28 Sep 2020