Mallet Finger 101

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Mallet finger (also known as baseball finger or dropped finger) is an oftentimes painful condition which occurs when the tendon responsible for straightening your finger becomes torn or damaged. The extensor tendon rests on top of the fingers and is used to help bend or curl them. When this key tendon is damaged, however, the associated fingers won’t have full mobility. To learn more about mallet finger and how to treat it, keep reading.

Along with limited mobility, mallet finger also causes a fair amount of pain. Some of the more severe cases involve the tearing of small bone fragments from the finger. As you can expect, having a torn tendon along with a piece of bone floating around can be quite painful. Even the slightest touch or pressure on a mallet finger can send sharp pain signals running all the way through the hand and arm.

Mallet finger is oftentimes referred to as baseball finger since it’s a high risk condition for baseball players. When a high-velocity ball lands on top of a player’s finger – rather than the glove – he or she may develop this condition. The blunt force trauma caused by the ball hitting the top of the finger can tear the extensor tendon, resulting in mallet finger.

Of course, football players are also placed at risk for developing this condition. While a pigskin being chucked down field isn’t going to cause enough damage to create mallet finger, the force of another player slamming into a finger might. This is why it’s important for football players to use caution and protect their fingers at all times.

There are both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available for mallet finger. In cases of severe misalignment and large fractures, a physician may recommend implanting screws to reinforce the damaged finger. These screws will remain in place while the bone heals itself. Depending on the guidance of the physician, they may recommend keeping the screws for several years or longer before taking them out.

Thankfully, most cases of mallet finger can be easily treated without the need for expensive, painful surgery. Upon developing mallet finger – whether it’s from a car accident, sports game, etc. – the individual should immediately place a cold ice compress on the affected area. Doing so will ease some of the swelling, which in turn reduces the impact on the tendons.

Protection and rest are critical when treating mallet finger. Using a splint on the affected finger will maintain its shape while protecting it from damage. You can talk with your chiropractor for more information about using a split to treat mallet finger.

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