It’s that time of the year when finger injuries in sport are very common. One of the most common types of finger injury is called a mallet finger. This injury often happens in ball sports however, it can also happen at home, work or other recreational activities. Prompt treatment of mallet fingers can result in enormous improvement of the function and appearance of your hands.
What is it?
A mallet finger is when the end joint of your finger will not straighten by itself. The fingertip can be pushed straight, but it will not hold that position on its own. It is caused by an injury to the tendon that straightens the end joint of your finger. This injury usually happens when the fingertip is pushed down forcefully, when a person is trying to straighten it (eg. a ball to the end of the finger or a finger caught in a jumper). The tendon can be torn off the bone, or it may pull away with a small piece of bone (avulsion injury).
Don’t just ignore it. Some people may ignore a bent finger, assuming that it will straighten out on its own. This is unlikely to happen. The longer the finger stays bent, the harder it will be to fix.
Wearing a splint that holds the fingertip straight will heal most mallet finger injuries. The earlier the splint is applied after the injury, the better the chance of a good result. Without treatment, the tendon will not heal properly and the finger will remain bent. Depending on the type of mallet injury, the splint will need to be worn full time for 6-8 weeks. You can usually still complete all daily activities, including sport, with the splint on. Following the 6-8 weeks of splinting you will be provided with a splint weaning exercise program to regain normal movement and strength.
If you think you have a mallet finger injury, contact us at Osteohealth and Marnie will assess your finger and provide an appropriate treatment plan to get you back to normal in no time.