Mallet (Not Mullet) Finger, A Common Baseball Injury

What is it?

Mallet finger or “baseball finger” occurs when the tendon which extends or straightens your finger is shortened and damaged.  Sometimes a ball may hit the top of your finger and cause tears making the finger to shorten up and not straighten out.  A fracture can happen in some instances depending on the force of the ball.

How do I know if I have it?
There are several symptoms of mallet finger.   Pain, swelling and bruising are common indicators.  Drooping of the tip of your finger may be noticeable.  Bruising underneath the fingernail may occur and in some cases, you may loose your fingernail.

Treatment:
Most mallet finger injuries can be treated without surgery.  It takes time to slowly train the tendon to move correctly and scar tissue has to be cleared away to make sure proper mobility can be obtained.  If the injury is new, elevate the wrist to above heart level and apply ice.   should be applied. and the normal rules of P.R.I.C.E (protection, rest, ice, should be applied.  elevated above the level of the heart.   If you have blood beneath the nail or your nail has fallen off,  make sure to get an x-ray to see if there is a fracture.

Splints are often used to keep the finger straight but make sure to periodically take it off and loosen up the tissues surrounding the finger.  This will allow blood flow and mobility to increase.

In my experience stretches of the finger along with soft tissue work get great results and keep chronic flare-ups at a minimum.