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Mallet Finger

What is Mallet Finger?

Mallet finger is a condition wherein the tip of the finger loses the ability to hold itself straight as a result of the disconnection of the extensor tendon.


What causes Mallet Finger?

Mallet Finger is the result of the extensor tendon that runs along the top of the finger being disconnected from the distal phalanx as a result of trauma. This trauma is often the “jamming” of the affected finger, which is why this injury is sometimes referred to as a “baseball finger.” As a result of this disconnection, the last digit of the finger is unable to extend, and can be moved with assistance, but will not hold a straight position on its own.


What are symptoms of Mallet Finger?

The presentation of Mallet finger is clearly indicative of the deformity, and it becomes apparent immediately after the trauma is sustained. The drop of the distal phalanx is often accompanied by tenderness and swelling. It is surprisingly not painful unless there is a fracture associated.


How to diagnose Mallet Finger.

When it becomes clear that you suffer from a mallet finger, the first step will be to take X-rays of the affected finger, to rule out any fracture or other damage not apparent from the surface. It is important to ascertain the extent of the damage, because the treatment will directly depend on it.


Treatment Options

Non-surgical treatment of Mallet Finger.

If it is determined that the injury is restricted to soft tissue, surgery is not necessary, and the most effective methods of treatment are to put the finger in a special splint specifically designed for this type of injury that will hold the tip in place and allow the tendon to reattach itself to the bone. The splinting period lasts for six weeks, after which point you are advised to wear it at night for an additional six weeks.

Surgical treatment of Mallet Finger

In some cases, when the tendon breaks away from the phalanx, it can break off a piece of the bone with it, and when these fractures occur, surgery becomes necessary to reattach both the bone and the tendon when the piece of bone broken off leads to shifting of the joint. In this case, fine wires are inserted into the bone to keep it in place as it heals, which will then be removed once the bone has knitted together.


How can Dr. Knight help you with Mallet Finger?

Because this injury is not uncommon, Dr. Knight has encountered it many times over his career as a hand surgeon, and is well versed in its care and treatment. His experience makes him the best choice you can make to have your Mallet Finger treated and get you back to your life and work.


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HandAndWristInstitute.com does not offer medical advice. The information presented here is offered for informational purposes only. Read Disclaimer