Mallet finger

Also known as ‘baseball finger’, this condition is caused by injuring the end of your finger which leaves it bent towards your palm. Because the extensor tendon that connects the bone to the muscle is torn, you won’t be able to straighten the finger, which will also be swollen and painful. Sometimes the bone is also damaged.


Mallet finger is often caused by injuring your finger while playing sport, for example when catching a ball or other object.


These include pain, swelling and bruising to the finger, and the fingertip cannot be straightened. Sometimes the nail also becomes detached.


A discussion with your specialist about how you injured your finger will usually help to diagnose the condition, which can be backed up with an X-ray to find out if it’s broken or misaligned (where the bones are out of place).


Non-operative treatment: applying ice (crushed in a towel) straight away and at regular intervals, along with elevating the hand above the heart as much as possible and wearing a splint for several weeks is often enough for it to heal. However, if you have blood under your nail or it has come off, it can be a sign of more serious problems.

Surgery: if there is a major fracture (mallet fracture) or the joint is misaligned, you may need surgery to fix it with pins, wires or screws.

Important: This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Everyone is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you’re worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.

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