What is mallet finger?

Mallet finger is a common injury that usually occurs as a result of an athletic injury. The condition occurs when the outermost joint of the finger is injured. Mallet finger is the most common closed tendon injury. Mallet finger is also known as baseball finger, drop finger, or hammer finger.

With mallet finger, the tendon on the back of the finger is separated from the muscles it connects. There are three types of injuries that usually occur: the tendon is damaged, but no fractures (bone cracks or breaks) are present; the tendon ruptures with a small fracture caused by the force of the injury; or the tendon ruptures with a large fracture.


Mallet finger can be quite painful. However, people who suffer from the condition are usually still able to use their hand. The symptoms of mallet finger usually include pain, tenderness, and swelling at the outermost joint immediately after the injury, swelling and redness soon after the injury, and an inability to completely extend the finger while still being able to move it with help.

Treatment for mallet finger may include ice packs, elevation, pain medication, splinting to hold the finger straight until it heals (about 6 weeks full time, then part time for up to 6 weeks more), finger exercises after the splint is removed, surgical repair of fractured bone using pins, pins and wire, or screws, surgery to tighten stretched tendon tissue or fuse the joint straight, or treatment for cuts or damage to skin or nail.

If you have mallet finger, there are ways you can treat the condition at home. The first thing that can be done during the first day or two, apply ice for fifteen minutes every three to four hours. This will work to reduce swelling and tenderness. Then, you should elevate the finger above your heart level. You may also take an over-the-counter pain reliever or medication your doctor has prescribed for pain. If you have a cut on your finger as a result of the condition, make sure to clean it with soap and warm water. In addition, apply moderate pressure to stop any bleeding and wrap the affected finger with clean gauze.