Mallet Finger

Mallet finger is an injury to the thin tendon that straightens the end joint of a finger or thumb resulting in the inability to straighten the tip of your finger or thumb on your own.

Symptoms of Mallet Finger

The most common and visible symptom of mallet finger is the inability to straighten the tip of your finger or thumb. Sometimes the affected finger will be swollen and bruised and when manually straightened be painful. 


Causes of Mallet Finger

Mallet finger is usually caused by a blunt force traume to the tip of the finger that forcibly bends the finger, causing injury to the tendon that straightens the fingertip. This force may rupture the tendon or cause the tendon to dislocate from the point of attachment on the bone. 


Your Treatment Options

If there is no fracture of the bone involved then mallet finger is treated by splinting the injured finger for 6-8 weeks. This allows for your finger to be immobilized in the extended position and enables the injured tendon to heal properly. Following immobilization you will work with a hand therapist to being using the hand through range of motion exercises.  If there is a bone fracture involved then surgical intervention may be necessary. 


If there is no fracture, splinting the injured joint for 6-8 weeks in extension will allow the finger to heal. 
If there is a bone fragment involved, depending on the size and position of the fragment, surgical intervention may be necessary. Following immobilization, the individual is encouraged to begin using the hand. ROM will generally improve with use. If straightening the finger continues to be a problem, it may be necessary to do further immobilization.