Mallet finger (tendon rupture)

Hands | Orthopaedics | Mallet finger (tendon rupture) (Disease)


In medicine, mallet finger, also baseball finger, dropped finger and (more generally) extensor tendon injury, is an injury of the extensor digitorum tendon of the fingers at the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP).

Causes and Risk factors

It results from hyperflexion of the extensor digitorum tendon, and usually occurs when a ball (such as a softball, basketball, or volleyball), while being caught, hits an outstretched finger and jams it - creating a ruptured or stretched extensor digitorum tendon.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Patients that present with mallet finger will have pain at the DIP joint, and will be unable to extend the joint. It should be determined via radiograph if the Extensor Digitorum tendon has avulsed from the phalange, which will require surgical intervention to reattach the tendon and should be done within 10 days of the injury.

Surgical treatment is used when the mallet finger presents as an open injury or if the bony mallet involves more than 30% of the articular surface of the joint. If passive extension cannot be achieved, surgery will put the finger in a neutral position and drill a wire through the DIP to the PIP, forcing immobilization and eliminating patient compliance for re-injury. ...

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