Mallet Finger: What it is and how to treat it

What is it?

A mallet finger is when you cannot straighten out the tip of your finger. It usually occurs when a large force has been applied to the tip of your straight finger, causing the tendon that straightens your finger tip to rupture.

A laceration, disease or infection can also cause this tendon to rupture. It is common for a small part of the bone to be taken with the tendon. When this occurs it is called an avulsion mallet finger.

What do I do?

Keep your finger immobilised in a hyperextended splint for 6-8 weeks. A custom made splint will be made for you with your finger in the correct position. It will need to be worn all the time.

The splint may need to be adjusted as the swelling reduces. Do not grip objects forcefully or put pressure through the tip of your finger during this time.

You will need to check the condition of your skin regularly. A bandage to reduce the swelling is also to be worn.

When the splint is removed, in therapy, your ability to straighten your finger again will be assessed. Your finger may be slightly stiff and therefore you may need some exercises to regain full movement & strength.

What may I experience?

  • Dropping of finger tip
  • Swelling
  • Pain

What can I expect?

By following The Hands Physio recommendations and treatments your finger should recover fully and straighten again. Occassionally, a lag of less then ten degrees, or a stiff joint may occur. You should have full tendon strength by 10-12 weeks.

You might also want to read about...

Carpal Tunnel Surgery: What you need to know

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition where the median nerve is compressed at the wrist.

Keep reading

How to treat Central Slip Tendon Injury

A central slip tendon injury means that you have damaged the tendon over the middle part of the top of your finger, so you are not be able to straighten your finger.

Keep reading

Tendinosis: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Tendinosis is the degeneration or breakdown of the connective tissue/collagen within your tendon.

Keep reading