Treating a mallet finger

A mallet finger is an athletic injury. It happens when the outermost joint of the finger is injured causing the tip of the finger to droop. Basketball and baseball players usually experience jammed fingers, but injuries happen due to crushing accident on the job or cutting a finger while working in the kitchen. A mallet finger causes the tendon at the back of the finger to be separated from the muscles it connects.

Types of injuries

  • The tendon becomes damaged, but no fractures are present.
  • Rupture of the tendon with a small fracture caused by the type of injury.
  • The tendon becomes ruptured and result to a large fracture.

Symptoms of mallet finger


Pain, swelling and tenderness at the outermost area of the joint after the injury.

  • Pain, swelling and tenderness at the outermost area of the joint after the injury.
  • Redness and swelling of the area
  • Difficulty in completely extending the finger.


  • If the finger is cut, clean it under running water for at least a few minutes. Wrap the affected finger using a clean gauze or cloth. Apply moderate pressure to stop any bleeding.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area to lessen the swelling and the tenderness in the joint. Wrap it using a towel or a cloth before placing on the area to prevent further damage and worsen the condition.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications to lessen the swelling and the inflammation of the area.
  • Wear the prescribed splint for the mallet finger. Wear the splint properly. Make it tight so that the affected finger is totally straight. If pain develops at the knuckles, loosen up the wrapping to prevent problems with circulation.
  • Avoid bending the affected finger to prevent rupturing the healing tendon and result to further damage and worsen the condition.
  • Wear the splint all the time for at least 8 weeks to restore the normal functioning of the affected finger. Wear the splint while taking a bath. After taking a bath, remove the splint and let it dry. While allowing the splint dry, keep the affected finger straight and if the finger still droops, there is still a need to wear the splint for a longer time.
  • Seek the help of the hand physiotherapist for some rehabilitation exercises to prevent the fingers becoming stiff and restore range of movement of the affected finger.

FACT CHECK–conditions/mallet-finger-baseball-finger/

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