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Common conditions

Mallet Finger

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).

Mallet Finger

Mallet Finger

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.

Affected Populations

Treatment

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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