What is a Mallet Finger?
“Mallet finger” affects the “extensor” tendon which acts to straighten the end of the finger/thumb. It is usually caused by a sudden blow to the tip of the finger (e.g. a ball hitting the end of your finger). The force of the blow causes the tendon and sometimes a piece of bone with it to be pulled away from the bone (bony mallet). The joint can be pushed straight but you cannot hold that position when support is removed.
- Your therapist will fabricate a small thermoplastic splint to be worn over the back of your finger (pictured right)
- The splint will be worn strictly 24 hours per day for 6 -8 weeks, removing only for hygiene and to change the lining as shown by your therapist.
- When your splint is removed, your finger must remain straight and CANNOT bend! You can do this by leaning it on the edge of a table or flat surface (pictured below right). If your finger accidently bends, all the healing will be undone and splinting will have to recommence from week one.
- It is important that you contact your therapist if you have any problems (pain, pressure, tingling) with your splint during this time.
- Your finger may not be completely straight after this injury. There can still be a slight bend (lag) at the end, no matter how diligent you are.
- When your splint is removed, the end of your finger will be stiff into flexion – this is expected! It is very important that you do not force the end of your finger. Your movement will gradually improve as you start to use you hand normally.
- In some severe cases you may be referred to a hand surgeon for review. Your therapist will discuss this further with you if this is required. Exercises: You should complete these exercises every day; they will ensure that your unaffected digits do not become stiff during the period of immobilisation.
Exercises: You should complete these exercises every day; they will ensure that your unaffected digits do not become stiff during the period of immobilisation.