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A guide to mallet finger

Mallet finger occurs when the tendon found in the finger, responsible for straightening and extending the fingertip, becomes damaged or torn resulting in the individual being unable to straighten the finger.  

Mallet finger is an injury commonly seen in cricket, where players are attempting to catch a hard ball at high speeds, causing excessive force to be put on the tendon.

If you believe your suffering from mallet finger the main symptom to be aware of is the inability to straighten the finger, as the tip of the finger will remain bent.

As well as being unable to straighten the finger you may also feel pain and see swelling in the area.

If you are suffering from the above symptoms, then we recommend seeing a doctor who will be able to examine the area before either an X-ray or MRI scan takes place to confirm the diagnosis and rule out a fracture and any further complications.

In order to treat mallet finger, a finger splint should be worn in order to keep the finger stable and most importantly straighten the finger, this splint may need to be worn for up to eight weeks.

It must be ensures that the finger remains straight throughout this period to allow the tendon to heal correctly, if the individual needs to remove the finger splint their finger must remain straight and not bend.

This can be done using the ‘buddy finger’ taping technique. This requires foam and zinc oxide tape and sees the injured finger taped to a healthy finger to keep it straight and provide support.

SUMMARY

Causes:

  • Over-bending in the end of the finger causing damage to the tendon
  • Attempting to catch a fast ball common in sports such as baseball, basketball and cricket

Symptoms:

  • Pain and swelling in the finger
  • Finger remains bent with an inability to straighten the finger

Treatment:

  • Finger Splint
  • Surgery
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