March 30th, 2012

Health N' Sports: Mallet Finger

Staff Report

Health N' Sports: Mallet Finger
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Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic shares insight on finger injury

As a part of the Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic, the Sports Rehab Team physical therapists are knowledgeable and trained in the latest advancements and techniques available in sports rehabilitation. On a weekly basis, the Health N’ Sports Update will give information on prevention, recovery, and include special offers, as well as general health tips that would be beneficial to all. If there is a specific topic you’d like to know or hear more about, email future suggestions to


Baseball and softball season is upon us. A common injury in both is the “Mallet Finger”. The injury occurs when the fielding player takes a ball off the tip of the finger. The most distal joint (the DIP) is hyper flexed by the impact of the ball, resulting in an injury to the extensor tendon of the finger.


Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment:


  • The player presents with pain at the DIP joint and the inability to extend the finger
  • Definitive diagnosis is made by x-ray
  • Treatment options include a “Mallet Finger” splint for 6-8 weeks, which maintains joint extension (and prevents flexion) to allow for healing
  • Surgery may be necessary in some cases

Unfortunately this injury is often to the throwing hand (as when fielding the ball with 2 hands). Wearing the splint will most likely result in an extended stay on the disabled list. If the injury occurs early in the season, an athlete may be able to return to play at seasons end.


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