Carpometacarpal boss. The term itself sounds complex, painful, and intimidating, but fortunately, these strange bumps on the back of the hand need not be serious, and they are treatable.

Start with the basics—what are these growths, and what are the signs of a carpometacarpal boss?

Simply put, it’s a lump on the back of the hand where the hand meets the wrist. These bony overgrowths usually occur at the base of the index or middle finger, and they can cause pain and swelling.

The cause of these growths is unknown. Sometimes they occur after a traumatic injury, and they can also present as overuse injuries with activities like golf or racquet sports that require repetitive wrist motion.

While many people associate a carpometacarpal boss with the elderly, they can appear at a much younger age. They can turn up as early as age 20-40, and they may or not occur on both wrists.

Still, it’s important not to self-diagnose a carpometacarpal boss. Effective treatment depends on a solid evaluation, especially since a carpometacarpal boss can resemble a ganglion cyst.

The initial treatment is fairly basic. A wrist splint is typically used to immobilize the rest to allow any inflammation to subside, and icing may help if significant pain is involved. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen may also provide some level of relief, but if these fail or fall short a steroid injection into the swollen area itself (i.e., the boss) may be employed.

If all of these treatments fail to provide sufficient relief, surgery may be required. A dressing is applied after surgery, and it may be used along with finger socks or even compressive gloves to speed the necessary healing.

After the sutures are removed, a different, custom splint may be applied to provide further protection and reduce discomfort. Physical therapy may be used as well, typically in the form of gentle stretching to extend the initial range of motion.

The good news is that you can recover and get back to normal. Many people who see signs of a carpometacarpal boss are able to resume full activity, as long as the treatment is successful and appropriate precautions are observed in the future.

If you have any signs of this condition, schedule a consultation with Dr. Yospur. Contact us today.