Mallet Finger

Mallet finger results from an injury to the extensor tendon of your finger and causes the tip of your finger to droop despite attempts to straighten it.

This injury has been called “baseball finger” as it often happens when a ball strikes the tip of the finger forcefully, however, anything that forcefully bends the the tip of the finger can cause this deformity.

The inability to straighten your finger is due to a tear in the tendon that normally allows you to straighten your finger.  This can be from a complete tear of the tendon or because the tendon pulls off the bone where it normally attaches.  In the second case, a piece of bone can be pulled off with the tendon and results in what is called an avulsion fracture.

What Do I Do For Mallet Finger?

Your doctor will likely do an x-ray to evaluate for an avulsion fracture or abnormal alignment of the joint.  Either of these problems may indicate the need for surgery and should prompt evaluation by a physician specializing in hand surgery.  All mallet finger deformities are treated initially with immobilization of the tip of the finger splinted so that it cannot bend at all and should be maintained in this position at all times for up to 8 weeks.

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