In a mallet injury, the extensor tendon, located on the top of the hand, is damaged usually from an object striking the fingertip and forcibly bending the finger. This force causes a rupture of the extensor tendon, resulting in the finger being unable to fully straighten on its own. The force to the finger can also pull a fragment of the finger bone away, also known as an avulsion injury.
Mallet finger is a painful injury that results in a drooping fingertip as well as swelling and bruising. While it is commonly an athletic injury known as “baseball finger,” the injury can also occur from other accidents, such as falling on an extended hand.
In order to ensure that the injured finger can regain function, it is important to seek medical attention if you believe you are suffering from mallet finger. Left untreated, the affected finger may remain stiff and deformed at the fingertip.
In the examination of a mallet injury, X-rays are usually ordered to check the condition of the bone and the alignment of the finger joint. Mallet finger is usually treated with splinting for approximately eight weeks in order to allow the tendon to fully heal. In cases resulting in bone fragments or fractures, surgical repair may be performed.