A Mallet Finger is a finger injury that occurs when the extensor tendon that straightens your finger is torn. The tendon can be damaged from a ball or other object striking the tip of the finger and forcibly bending it. The force of the blow may even pull off a piece of the bone with the tendon so the tip of the finger can no longer straighten.
With a Mallet Finger, the fingertip cannot straighten on its own: it droops. The finger may be painful, swollen and bruised, especially if the bone has torn from the tendon (avulsion). Occasionally, blood collects beneath the nail, causing the nail to become detached at the base of the nail.
In most cases, you can treat Mallet Finger injuries without surgery. Full-time splint immobilization with the tip of the finger in extension is essential to allow the ruptured end of the tendon to heal. Not allowing the tip of the finger to bend at all during the immobilization period is the key to successful healing. Once the Mallet Finger has completely healed, your physician or hand therapist will recommend exercises to regain motion of the fingertip.
Here are examples of different splints that are used to treat mallet injuries. Your physician will determine the type of splint that is most appropriate for your injury.
The open part of the splint lies
on top of the finger, leaving the
Custom Made Splint
A custom made splint, with the
longer side covering the fingernail.
The metal part of this splint is on
top of the finger, covering the