A mallet finger type of injury occurs in the tendons at the tip of the fingers, causing the finger to become permanently bent. Broken fingers, sprains, or certain chronic conditions, such as arthritis, are common causes for finger injury. After trauma, injury may become noticeable if the individual is unable to straighten the tip of the finger.
The term mallet finger is used to describe an injury to the extensor tendon found on the back of the finger. The role of the extensor tendon is to straighten the fingers. This tendon functions through various attachments located on the back of each finger and even one past the last knuckle which allows the last finger joint to straighten. When this particular tendon becomes injured, it fails to extend the last knuckle and, as a result, the joint remains bent.
Symptoms of a Mallet Finger
At the time of injury, the pain experienced from a mallet finger injury can be quite significant but may usually subside within a short time span. This type of injury can be noticeably obvious to diagnose as the last joint of the finger will be bent down and, although the joint is capable to being straightened with manual help, the individual will be unable to fully extend the tip of the finger on their own. Because people with a mallet finger injury regularly experience minor pain, this type of injury can many times be undiagnosed.
Treatment for a mallet finger injury mainly involves using a simple splint. Finger splints are used in order to protect fingers and/or to assist in aligning the joints of the fingers that may have been affected by an injury or a chronic condition like arthritis. In more serious cases, the tendon might pull off a small fragment of the bone from the finger bone. If the fragment is considerable in size, surgical treatment might be required to avoid further joint problems.
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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