What is Mallet Finger?

  • A mallet finger is a deformity of a finger caused when a certain tendon is damaged.
  • When a ball or other object strikes the tip of the finger or thumb, the force damages the thin tendon that straightens the finger.
  • This condition is also known as baseball finger.

A mallet finger is a deformity of a finger caused when the extensor tendon is damaged. For example, when a ball or other object hits the tip of the finger or thumb, the force damages the thin tendon that straightens the finger. The blow can even pull away a piece of bone along with the tendon. The finger or thumb is then not able to be straightened. It is also known as baseball finger.

Our Treatment Approach

In most cases, your doctor will order X-rays to look for a major fracture or misalignment of the joint.

Nonsurgical Treatment

The most mallet finger injuries can be treated without surgery. Ice should be applied to the injury as soon as possible. It is important to seek medical attention if there is blood beneath the nail or if the nail is detached.

A splint may be used to hold the fingertip straight until it heals, usually for about eight weeks.

Surgical Treatment

Surgical repair may be considered if the injury also shows signs of large fracture fragments or joint misalignment. Surgery is done to repair the fracture using pins, pins and wire, or even small screws. Surgery may also be considered if nonsurgical treatment fails.

Causes

A mallet finger is a deformity of a finger caused when the extensor tendon is damaged. For example, when a ball or other object hits the tip of the finger or thumb, the force damages the thin tendon that straightens the finger. The blow can even pull away a piece of bone along with the tendon. The finger or thumb is then not able to be straightened. It is also known as baseball finger.

Symptoms

The finger is usually painful, swollen, and bruised. The fingertip may droop noticeably. Occasionally, blood collects beneath the nail. The nail can even become detached from beneath the skin fold at the base of the nail.