A mallet finger occurs when the tendon that straightens the end joint of the finger ruptures. A ball to the end of the finger is often the cause but sometimes something as simple as taking your socks off can result in a mallet injury. In some cases, there may be a chip of bone that comes off as well. If you have sustained a mallet finger, you will not be able to straighten the tip of your finger without using your other hand.
- A droop at the end of the finger that can’t be straightened
- Typically no pain if just a tendon injury
- Pain only if a fracture is also present
- Swelling, typically only if a fracture is present
- Sometimes the middle joint of the finger also hyperextends, causing a ‘Swan neck deformity’
Therapy involves splinting the joint fully straight for 6-8 weeks. The splint mustn’t be removed in order for the tendon to successfully heal and reattach back to the tip of the finger. Therapists at Geelong Hand Therapy custom make mallet splints to ensure a perfect fit and position of the joint, and also provide advice on mobilisation and return to sports. In severe cases, surgery can sometimes be required.
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Geelong, Vic 3220
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