What is Mallet Finger?
A mallet finger is a disruption of the terminal extensor tendon at the tip of the finger, where the tendon attaches to the bone. It can be either the result of a tendon avulsion (ripping off the bone) or a fracture of the bone (mallet fracture).
Symptoms & Causes
Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of a mallet finger. Oftentimes, patients think they “jammed” their finger. The finger will also have limited extension at the tip and sometimes it will droop.
Any mallet finger with a tendon avulsion seen within a month of injury can be treated non-operatively. For this, we use a mallet splint made by a hand therapist; off-the-shelf splints do not work. Mallet splints made by a hand therapist are non-removable, but patients can play sports, shower, and swim in them. They will be worn for six weeks. Patients that cannot tolerate splinting can opt for a pin to be placed in the finger holding the joint in extension.
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