Mallet Finger

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

What is Mallet Finger?

Mallet finger occurs when the tendon which is found in the finger responsible for straightening and extending the tip becomes damaged or torn and as a result the patient suffers an inability to straighten the finger. This is a common injury in sports such as baseball and cricket in which players attempt to catch fast, hard balls, causing excessive force to be put on the tendon.

Mallet Finger Symptoms

The main symptom of mallet finger is an inability to straighten the finger and the tip of the finger will remain bent. The patient may also feel pain and swelling may be evident in the area.

Mallet Finger Diagnosis

In order to diagnose mallet finger, a doctor will give an examination of the area and often an X-ray or MRI scan will be undergone in order to confirm the diagnosis and also to rule out a fracture.

Mallet Finger Treatment

In order to treat a mallet finger, a finger splint should be worn in order to keep the finger stable and most importantly to straighten the finger. The splint may need to be worn for up to 8 weeks and it must be ensured that the finger remains straight throughout this period to allow the tendon to heal. If for any reason the patient needs to remove the splint i.e. for cleaning, the finger must be held straight and not allowed to bend.

For a severe mallet injury, the patient may require surgery to correct it to ensure the finger goes back to normal functionality.

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