Mallet finger injuries occur when the extensor tendon and often a fragment of bone detaches from the distal phalanx.
Mallet finger injuries occur when the extensor tendon and often a fragment of bone detaches from the distal phalanx. The patient will be unable to fully straighten the end of the finger. The injury occurs when something hits the end of finger and causes the detachment of the tendon or avulsion fracture of the distal phalanx. This is a clinical diagnosis although x-rays are often taken to determine whether there is bony involvement of the distal phalanx.
Initial treatment is a strict splinting regimen for 6-8 weeks. This involves a splint that keeps the most distal finger joint in complete extension. The splint must be kept on and not removed throughout the healing process so that the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint does not bend. Once the tendon heals back to the bone, the patient will begin to wean the splint and begin gentle range of motion exercises. In most cases, the patient may have a slight extensor lag (meaning the finger may be unable to fully straighten at the tip), but surgery is usually not necessary.
Every patient receives an in-depth consultation to devise a treatment plan that is right for their problem. Our specialists prefer non-operative and non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy, medications, and/or injections. When we require surgery, we will then use minimally invasive surgical techniques to fix your problem, whether it is fixing a broken bone or repairing a tendon. Our goal is always to get you back to living your life normally as soon as possible.