Mallet Finger Deformity: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Mallet Finger Deformity

Mallet fingers, commonly known as “baseball finger” is a type of deformity that affects the tip of your finger or thumb where the tendons are injured causing the part of the finger to droop.

Causes of Mallet Finger

One of the most common causes of the deformity is a direct impact on the tip of the fingers that injures the extensor tendons in the fingers, resulting in the dropping of the tips. Another aspect of mallet finger causes include high contact sports, during sudden injuries and accidents, where the tip is injured due to high impact.

Symptom of Mallet Finger

Symptoms of a Mallet finger are easy to identify. One of the most prominent symptoms is a physical injury as a result of any direct pressure on the tip of the finger. Other symptoms include the drooping of the tip, redness, bruise, tenderness, and inability to straighten the fingers into normal functioning positions.

How to Diagnose Mallet Finger

The most effective way to diagnose a mallet finger is to visit a medical practitioner, who will run an X-ray or an ultrasound to determine the extent of the injury and make you perform small activities such as flexing the bones, to determine the extent of the damage.

Who is at Risk of Mallet Finger

Often athletes who handle high impact balls such as baseball, cricket, and volleyball are prone to mallet finger injuries. However, it can occur to anyone who ends up with a high impact on the tips of the fingers that result in the snapping of the tendons.

Treatment for Mallet Finger

Mallet Finger treatment includes ice packs to ensure there is no severe inflammation of the muscles. Another treatment can be using splints and immobilization, based on the intensity of the injury. This allows the tendons and the muscles to heal over time as movement is restricted. Surgery is performed only when there is serious damage to the tendons and muscles and needs the medical intervention of that scale.

Physiotherapy Treatment of Mallet Finger

Cryotherapy can be used in the initial stages of the injury in order to prevent the inflammation of the joints and the muscle area. This will also help relieve pain in the region.

Besides these, various mallet finger exercises can be performed, such as

Passive range of motion can be performed by bending the injured joint to maintain the motion range of the joint. This can be performed for 5 seconds, with about 10 repetitions a day.

Stretching exercises such as keeping the palm flat on a table or floor and lifting each finger one at a time can be a good exercise to improve mobility in this region.

Object picking is a simple form of exercise that can help in increasing the mobility and agility of the fingers.

Things to Remember for Mallet Finger

Here are a few things that can help you if you happen to have mallet fingers

  • Wear protective gloves while engaging in sports
  • Ice the area of injury
  • Immobilization is key
  • Physiotherapy can help in healing the injury