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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 616-617
Fracture of the fifth finger sesamoid: A rare injury

1 Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, Malatya Educational Research Hospital, Malatya, Turkey
2 Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, Inonu University Medicine Faculty, Malatya, Turkey

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Date of Web Publication12-Aug-2019


Fracture of the hand sesamoid bones is rare. Fractures are usually missed initially. Mechanism of injury is usually reported as hyperextension and less frequently as direct compression of metacarpophalangeal joint. Fracture of the hand sesamoid bones has been usually reported in the thumb. We report a case of fifth-digit sesamoid fracture, treated conservatively. In 6 months of followup, the patient had a full range of motion without pain.

Keywords: Hand, hyperextension, sesamoid fracture, trauma

How to cite this article:
Aslanturk O, Ergen E. Fracture of the fifth finger sesamoid: A rare injury. Indian J Orthop 2019;53:616-7

How to cite this URL:
Aslanturk O, Ergen E. Fracture of the fifth finger sesamoid: A rare injury. Indian J Orthop [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Nov 22];53:616-7. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Sesamoids are small, rounded bones and are usually located at metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint level in the volar side of hands and the plantar side of feet. The prevalence of sesamoids has been reported in the literature as 98.2%–100% at MCP I, 2%–64.2% at MCP II, 0%–5.3% at MCP III, 0%–2.7% at MCP IV, and 0%–84.6% at MCP V.[1]

Fracture of the hand sesamoid bones is a rare injury and is usually reported as a fracture of thumb sesamoids.[2],[3] Sesamoid fracture of the hand was first described by Skillern in 1915.[4] A few cases of little finger sesamoid fractures have been reported.[4],[5],[6],[7] In this paper, we aimed to report a case of the fifth finger sesamoid fracture treated conservatively.

   Case Report Top

A 37-year-old woman presented to our outpatient clinic with persistent pain at the base of the left little finger after hitting a table with outstretched hand 1 week ago. The patient had been initially treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at another hospital. On physical examination, the patient had pain over MCP joint of the little finger with palpation; her range of motion was limited due to pain. Radiograph and computed tomographic (CT) scan of the hand showed fracture of radial sesamoid of the little finger [Figure 1] and [Figure 2]. The patient was treated conservatively with short-arm cast splint immobilization wrist in 25° extension and MCP joint in 70° flexion for 3 weeks and NSAIDs. After splint removal, the patient underwent physiotherapy. At 6-month followup, the patient had full range of motion without pain. The patient's QuickDASH scores were 63.6, 31.8, 18.2, and 0 at the time of administration and 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months of followup [Table 1].
Figure 1: Anteroposterior radiograph demonstrating fractured sesamoid (white arrow)

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Figure 2: Computed tomography demonstrating fractured sesamoid (white arrow)

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Table 1: QuickDASH scores of the patient

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   Discussion Top

Fracture of sesamoid bone of the hand is a rare injury and is difficult to diagnose in standard radiographs.[3],[6] Fractures are usually missed initially.[6] Mechanism of injury is usually reported as hyperextension and less frequently as direct compression of MCP joint.[3] Fracture of the thumb sesamoid at the level of MCP joint is the most commonly reported fracture of hand sesamoids.[3],[6] Little finger sesamoid fractures are rarely reported.[3],[5],[6],[7] There are only two case reports of the fifth finger sesamoid fracture.[6],[7]

The functions of sesamoid are to protect tendon, modify pressure, and reduce friction.[8] They also act as a fulcrum point for tendons and stabilize the joint.[1] Sesamoids also have static and dynamic functions, especially in thumb.[3]

Treatment is not clear because of rarity of injury. Initial treatment is usually immobilization with short-arm cast for 2–4 weeks.[3],[5],[6],[7] If pain persists, surgical excision of sesamoid can be performed. In previously reported two cases of the fifth finger sesamoid fracture, the patient was treated with surgical excision due to persistent pain.[6],[7] Because of their mechanical and protective functions, excision of sesamoids could result as decreased MCP joint motion.[3] In our case, immobilization for 3 weeks' period was enough for treatment. Function of the affected hand was fully recovered at the 6th month.

Sesamoid injuries are rare injuries and can be easily missed on standard anteroposterior and lateral radiographs. Oblique radiographs and CT can be helpful for diagnosis. Initial treatment is cast immobilization, and surgical excision is a good option in case pain persists.

To our knowledge, this is the third case report of sesamoid fracture of the fifth digit and the first one fully recovered with only conservative treatment. Sesamoid fractures should be kept in mind in patients with hand trauma and can be treated conservatively with good results.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patient has given her consent for her images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patient understands that her name and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Yammine K. The prevalence of the sesamoid bones of the hand: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Anat 2014;27:1291-303.  Back to cited text no. 1
Becciolini M, Bonacchi G. Fracture of the sesamoid bones of the thumb associated with volar plate injury: Ultrasound diagnosis. J Ultrasound 2015;18:395-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ozcanli H, Sekerci R, Keles N. Sesamoid disorders of the hand. J Hand Surg 2015;40:1231-2.  Back to cited text no. 3
Skillern PG. On fractures of the sesamoid bones of the thumb. Ann Surg 1915;62:297-301.  Back to cited text no. 4
Baek GH, Chung MS. Fracture of the index sesamoid – A case report. Acta Orthop Scand 2002;73:715-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Capo JA, Kuremsky MA, Gaston RG. Fractures of the lesser sesamoids: Case series. J Hand Surg Am 2013;38:1941-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
Inada Y, Tamai S, Kawanishi K, Fukui A. Fifth digit sesamoid fracture with tenosynovitis. J Hand Surg Am 1992;17:915-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Sabapathy SR, Bose VC, Rex C. Irreducible dislocation of the interphalangeal joint of the thumb due to sesamoid bone interposition: A case report. J Hand Surg Am 1995;20:487-9.  Back to cited text no. 8

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Okan Aslanturk
Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, Malatya Educational Research Hospital, Özalper Mah, Turgut Özal Bulvari No: 4, 44330 Malatya
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ortho.IJOrtho_301_18

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1]


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