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Mallet finger

Synonyms: dropped finger, baseball finger, dolphin finger

Finger deformity that looks like the finger is bent at the top and can’t get straight without assistance is known as a mallet finger. It develops after extensor muscle tendon injury.

How does it happen?

It commonly happens as a sports injury, but may as well happen when a deeper cut to the finger is made.

The injury may extend only to the tendon, or it may involve injuries and fractures to the bones in the hand or wrist. .

Symptoms and signs

Basic symptom is a drop (a bend) of the tip of the finger which can no longer be extended by will, accompanied by pain, redness, swelling and bruising.

With more severe finger injuries, the finger nail may get separated from the nail bed, and there may be bruising under the finger nail itself .

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made by a clinical examination, with a few exercises, and an X ray of the finger from two directions must be made to exclude bone damage.

How is it treated?

It can be treated non-surgically or surgically, depending on the time passed from injuring to reporting it to a doctor.

Non-surgically, it can be treated by immobilizing the finger for 8 to 10 weeks, after which it takes 2 to 6 months of exercising.

Surgically, it’s treated by a tendorrhaphia, a procedure that uses sutures to reconnect the ends of the injured tendon responsible for extending the finger. Immobilization and exercises follow this procedure as well. .

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