Mallet Finger: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment


A mallet finger is commonly considered to be an athletic injury and is also termed as hammer finger. It occurs when the outermost joint of the finger gets injured. The injury makes it impossible to extend or move the fingertips without applying some kind of force. It affects the tendon, which is responsible for straightening the tip of your thumb or finger .

A mallet finger can cause your finger to droop at the tip, look bruised and swollen and can be painful. You will not able to straighten your finger as the tendon would have become detached or torn from the finger bone. Mallet finger is a common injury and can affect any of the fingers,l though it mostly affects the dominant hand. Mallet finger is also known as baseball finger because the injury is commonly found in individuals playing baseball. It is commonly found in basketball players as well .

Mallet finger takes around six to eight weeks to heal and may take more time, in some cases. There are chances that even after it is healed, you may not get the ability to straighten your fingers. The swelling, tenderness and redness will subside in a period of three to four months .

Once your finger gets injured, it will droop and will be painful in most cases. However, it does not prevent you from using your hands.

The common symptoms of a mallet finger are as follows :

It is commonly reported in young individuals in sports activities. In children, it can be caused as a result of direct shock, like crushing a finger in a door.

It is not necessary that a mallet finger occurs only from a heavy impact, it can also develop as the result of a minor force which can injure the tendon. Injuries caused by low impacts are mostly viewed in older women while doing activities such as washing utensils or while making the bed .

In sports, a direct hit to your extended fingers from a football, baseball, basketball etc. can cause the tendon to rupture .

The doctor will b able to understand the condition by examining your fingertip. The drooping of fingertips will help the doctor carry out the diagnosis easily.

The doctor may ask you to take an X-ray and an MRI or ultrasound to examine and understand the extent of the injury. The x-ray will show the rupture of the tendon, bone fracture, and the alignment of the bones as well. The ultrasound and MRI are more sensitive in imaging the bone fragments .

In order to treat the pain and swelling of a mallet finger immediately, you can apply ice and keep your finger elevated, so that it is above your heart , , .

Once the surgery or the treatments are done, the doctor will give you an exercise to be followed, so as to keep the middle joint of the splinted finger from becoming stiff .

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