Do you know what Mallet (Baseball) Finger is?

Do you know what Mallet (Baseball) Finger is?

Do you know what Mallet (Baseball) Finger is? I will be the first to admit, I had not seen the term Mallet Finger since Physical Therapy school. You would think in the world of workman’s comp/occupational health, I would see Mallet finger more, but you would be wrong. When it comes to hand and finger injuries, I generally see a lot of crush injuries.

The Anatomy

Mallet finger is an injury to the tendon in the finger that helps straighten out the end joint of the finger. When that tendon is injured, it becomes difficult to straighten the tip of the finger out and it looks something like this:

Mallet finger
Mallet finger

The injury is usually caused when something hits the tip of the finger (such as a ball, hence the alternate name Baseball Finger). In this injury, the tendon could be torn or a piece of bone may pull away from the finger along with the tendon. The injury usually results in bruising, swelling, and pain along with fingertip drooping.

Treatment

So how would one treat mallet finger? As a physical therapist, my first thought was to splint this or kinesiotape it up in a supported setting. Then I would attempt some gentle range of motion, and grip strengthening, and if that doesn’t work, I would have the patient reconnect with the doctor to consider surgical options if necessary.

ONE THING I LEARNED TODAY:

Mallet Finger (or Baseball Finger) can be a nasty little injury. More than anything, it can be painful and annoying and especially problematic if you use your hands for every day life (like most humans). But a little gentle splinting and support followed up with some movement and strengthening may be helpful in gaining fine motor use for activities of daily living.

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