Mallet Finger (Baseball Finger)
Injuries to the fingers and the fingertips are common as our hand is usually the first part of our body to make contact with an object.
The Mallet Finger injury (also commonly called “Baseball Finger”) can occur in any of the fingers. The injury is usually the result of an object (such as a baseball or basketball) forcefully hitting the tip of the finger. The damaging force ruptures the small terminal extensor tendon over the back of the distal joint (DIP joint), resulting in a drooping appearance to the fingertip.
In some cases the damage may be more severe, and the tendon will also pull away a piece of the bone (an avulsion injury). In either case, the injured fingertip is unable to be completely straightened.
Prompt treatment for Mallet Finger injuries is crucial. Your physician will usually recommend specific splinting for your injured finger which can be created by a hand therapist. Splinting is typically required for 6 full weeks, with every effort being made to not bend the healing joint.
Hand therapy is usually prescribed following splint removal to assist in regaining range of motion, strength, and function that was lost while the finger was splinted.
If left untreated, mallet finger injuries have the potential to develop into a Swan Neck Deformity.
Medical Illustration From The Merck Manual of Medical Information – Second Home Edition, edited by Robert S. Porter. Copyright 2008 by Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe. Accessed 12/5/08.
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