Mallet Finger: A mallet finger is a deformity of the finger caused by an extensor tendon injury where it attaches to the finger bone (distal phalanx).This results in the inability to extend the fingertip without pushing it. When a ball or other object strikes the tip of the finger or thumb and forcibly bends it, the force tears the tendon that straightens the finger. There is generally pain and bruising at the back side of the farthest away finger joint. Mallet Finger is sometimes referred to as baseball finger.
Mallet Finger Causes
Mallet finger is a common sports injury. Mallet finger occurs when the distal joint of the finger is injured. It can also happen after catching your finger on something, but it sometimes results from a minor injury such as catching the finger when tucking in bed sheets. Three types of injuries commonly occur:
- The tendon is damaged, but no fractures are present.
- The tendon ruptures with a small fracture.
- The tendon ruptures with a large fracture.
Mallet Finger Symptoms
- Pain and swelling at the end of the finger, especially if there is an associated fracture.
- With a mallet finger, the fingertip droops, the end of the finger lies in a bent position.
- Inability to hold the finger straight at the end joint, but the patient can move it with assistance.
Mallet Finger Diagnosis
The diagnosis of the mallet finger is usually based on symptoms and supported by X-rays.X-ray films support the physician in determining if the bone is cracked or broken. Imaging studies may also help the physician to explore foreign debris in the laceration.
Mallet Finger Treatment
Mallet finger treatment depends on the severity of the injury you have. The majority of mallet finger injuries can be treated without surgery.
Mallet Finger Non-Surgical Treatment
Apply ice to the injured finger joint to reduce swelling and tenderness. You can take an over-the-counter painkiller, such as ibuprofen, or paracetamol to help relieve the pain.
- Extension splinting also known as mallet finger splint of DIP joint for 6-8 weeks.
- Maintain free movement of the PIP joint
- Avoid hyperextension
- Volar splinting has fewer complications than dorsal splinting
- Begin progressive flexion exercises at 6 weeks
Mallet Finger Surgical Treatment
Surgical repair may be considered when mallet finger injuries have large bone fragments or joint malalignment. Surgery may also be regarded if splint wear is not successful in restoring satisfactory finger extension. Surgical treatment customarily requires a tendon graft — tendon tissue that is taken from another part of your body or even fusing the joint straight.