Mallet finger, also known as baseball finger, is an injury to the fingertip that occurs when the tendon that straightens the finger (the extensor tendon) is damaged. This injury typically occurs when the fingertip is forcefully bent, such as during a ball hitting the fingertip in sports like baseball or basketball.
Treatment for mallet finger typically involves immobilizing the fingertip in a splint or brace to allow the tendon to heal. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged tendon or bone. It's important to seek prompt medical attention if you suspect you may have a mallet finger injury, as early treatment can improve the chances of a full recovery.
Recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the injury, but most people can expect to wear a splint for 6 to 8 weeks. After the splint is removed, physical therapy may be recommended to help restore range of motion and strength to the affected finger. In most cases, individuals can return to normal activities within a few months of the injury.
Some common causes of mallet finger include:
Sports injuries: Mallet finger is a common injury among athletes who participate in sports like basketball, baseball, volleyball, and handball, where the fingers are frequently exposed to direct impact.
Work-related injuries: People who work with their hands, such as carpenters, construction workers, and mechanics, may also be at increased risk of mallet finger due to the high-risk activities they perform.
Accidents or falls: Any kind of accident or fall that results in a direct impact to the fingertip can potentially cause a mallet finger injury.
Chronic conditions: Certain chronic conditions that affect the hands and fingers, such as arthritis or tendonitis, can increase the risk of mallet finger.