Hand and wrist alignment
IntroIf you don’t use proper hand and wrist alignment when punching, you are exposing yourself to injury.
InjuriesThe knuckles are susceptible to cuts, tears, and scrapes and, under extreme circumstances, they can fracture. Also, the nerves in the valleys between the knuckles can be irritated or damaged.
If the thumb gets snagged or grabbed, it can sprain or break. Under rare circumstances, even when the thumb is tightly tucked, it may get jammed back into the palm and sprained.
The most common serious injury to the hand during punching is what is known as “boxer’s fracture,” which is a fracture of the long bone (metacarpal) that runs from the knuckle of a finger, down the back of the hand, and to the wrist. The boxer’s fracture usually occurs on the metacarpals of the last two fingers they since connect to the wrist at an oblique angle, which causes to them to bend, fracture, and prevent the transmission of forces along the arm. Also, if these two knuckles impact first, the knuckles themselves may fracture.
Allowing the hand to tilt so the last two knuckles strike first is the most common cause of a boxer’s fracture. Also, allowing the elbow to flare outward during a straight punch (instead of staying behind the fist) causes the last two knuckles to strike first, which leads to fractures. Novice students usually cannot generate enough punching force to cause the fracture and they are usually timid about punching with a lot of force, so most boxer's fractures occur in experienced students who let their technique slip and fail to maintain proper hand alignment.
Another injury that can occur while punching a wrist injury. If the wrist is bent or is allowed to bend during impact, an injury to the wrist can occur. Any injury to the hand or wrist can make the hand useless for defense or offense, so it is important to protect them as much as possible.
AlignmentIn a proper punch, there is a solid bone-to-bone straight line alignment from the knuckles of the first and index fingers through their metacarpals, through the wrist, the forearm, elbow, upper arm, and shoulder. This alignment transfers maximum power, helps prevent injury, and transfers the impact of a punch back through the body to the floor, where is rebounds back into the punch.
Boxer’s tape their hands and wrist to hold them in proper alignment to help prevent wrist injuries and protect the knuckles. The taping the wrist so it is difficult to bend makes it more difficult to make large hooking punches. Since boxers rely on this artificial means of keeping the wrist aligned, they have not trained to hold their hands in proper alignment without the wraps. Therefore, in fights outside of the ring, they are susceptible damaging their hands.
As martial artists, we must always train to keep the wrist straight and locked while punching until it becomes an unconscious action. When in the heat of battle, we don’t have the luxury of thinking about the small things, even if they may lead to our defeat. That is why we train to always do things correctly at all times, in or out of the ring.