What is a Mallet Finger?
“Mallet finger” affects the “extensor” tendon which straightens 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 main 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 accidentally 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.