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Mallet finger occurs when the outermost joint of the finger is injured. With mallet finger, the tendon on the back of the finger is separated from the muscles it connects.

Mallet Finger

Mallet Finger

What are the causes of Mallet Finger?

Commonly an athletic injury where basketball and baseball players routinely experience jammed fingers, but the injury can occur because of a crushing accident on the job or even because of a cut finger while working in the kitchen. A mallet finger is an injury to the extensor tendon on the back of the finger. The extensor tendon is the tendon used to straighten the finger. The tendon has several attachments on the back of the finger, including one just beyond the last knuckle that allows this last finger joint to extend (straighten). When the tendon is injured, there is nothing to pull that last knuckle straight, and therefore, the joint stays bent. Mallet finger results from hyperflexion of the extensor digitorum tendon, and usually occurs when a ball (such as a softball, basketball, or volleyball), while being caught, hits an outstretched finger and jams it (by rupturing or stretching the extensor digitorum tendon).

Symptom for Mallet Finger:

Your finger may be painful, swollen and bruised. A mallet finger is an obvious injury, if you know what you’re looking for: the last joint of the finger will be bent down, and while the joint can be straightened with assistance, you will be unable to fully straighten the tip of the finger on your own.

How to prevent Mallet Finger?

To prevent such injuries, take care when participating in activities, including athletic events. To prevent injuries from happening again to the same finger, leave the splint on for the entire time the doctor has recommended.

What are the treatments of Mallet Finger?

If the finger is not broken or cut, or if only a small fracture is present, the doctor applies a splint to the end of the finger so it remains extended. With a splint, the outermost joint on the injured finger is not bendable, but the rest of the finger is bendable. This splint needs to be worn for at least 6-8 weeks to ensure that the tendon is given the best chance of healing. Surgery is necessary if the tendon requires suturing to repair it.

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