Mallet Finger

Mallet Finger is a common athletic injury. It is an injury of the extensor tendon, which straightens the end joint of a finger or thumb. Mallet Finger is also known as Baseball Finger.

What Causes Mallet Finger?

Mallet finger can be caused by the jamming or crushing of the finger near it’s tip. This injury commonly occurs as the result of a ball striking the tip of a finger or thumb.

The severity of the injury can vary. All occurrences of this injury involve damage to the extensor tendon. In more severe cases, the extent of the injury can include a small or large bone fracture.

Mallet Finger Symptoms

A person with mallet finger does not have the ability to fully straighten their finger or thumb because an extensor tendon has been cut, ruptured or is damaged in some way. The tip of the finger stays bent inward toward the palm.

Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of mallet finger. Keeping the hand raised when possible or and using ice intermittently should help to reduce swelling until you have seen a doctor.


A person who suspects that they are suffering from mallet finger should make an appointment with a hand doctor immediately. Mallet finger injuries that receive prompt treatment usually have better outcomes. An orthopedic doctor ask questions about your symptoms and physically examine the affected area. The doctor will also take an X-rays and possibly use other imaging to evaluate the extent of the injury.

Non-Surgical Mallet Finger Treatment

Most people will not require surgery for this condition. If a patient doesn’t have a significant fracture, they may benefit from the userof a cast of finger splint while the tendon heals. The cast or splint holds the finger in proper alignment (straight) and is usually worn for about 6 to 8 weeks. Hand therapy may be recommended afterward. Exercise to be used to reduce stiffness and regain motion.

Surgery for Mallet Finger may be needed for the area to heal correctly. Surgery might be recommended to correct bone damage or to correct joint alignment.