A mallet finger is defined as damage to the fingertip where it is bent inwards towards the palm. The affected finger could not be straightened since the tendon linking the muscle to the finger bone is torn or overly stretched.
The affected finger is also swollen and painful. In some instances, the tendon is not torn but a small bony fragment breaks off where the tendon is linked.
When to seek medical care
Seek medical attention right away if a mallet finger is suspected since it might require a splint.
The affected hand must be elevated until assessed by the doctor. This helps lessen any pain and swelling.
If there is a ring on the affected finger, it must be removed. The swelling might make it hard to remove the ring or may disrupt the blood supply to the finger. An over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be given to lessen the pain.
Once the finger is splinted, apply an ice pack a few times throughout the day at 10-20 minutes to reduce the swelling and pain.
Management of mallet finger
The mallet finger is set in a plastic splint to keep it in a straight position with the tip slightly flexed backwards. The individual can still flex the finger at the middle region.
The splint is secure with a tape and should be used all day for 6-8 weeks to ensure that the 2 ends of the ripped tendon to remain together and recuperate. It must only be removed when cleaning.
The tip of the finger should not bend while it is splinted since it might slow down the healing and lessen the effectiveness of the treatment. The middle part of the finger is unsecured so that it can be free to move to prevent rigidity or stiffness.
Surgery is the only option if the finger is fractured or the skin is damaged or in rare instances where the mallet finger does not heal.