Mallet finger, also known as baseball finger, is the most common injury to the extensor tendon, the tendon that straightens the end of the finger. The tendon attaches to the distal phalanx, the bone at the tip of the finger. When the flexor tendon separates from the distal phalanx, the tip of the finger is no longer able to straighten. Sometimes, in this separation, the flexor tendon will take a piece of the bone with it.
Causes of Mallet Finger?
Mallet finger is caused by a blow or jamming injury to the tip of the finger. The injury is the result of sharp sudden force on the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP joint), the top joint in the finger. This causes the extensor tendon to rupture. The tendon will often pull off a piece of the bone to which it is attached in the fingertip.
The type of accident that results in mallet finger usually cannot be prevented by means of precautionary measures. As the name "baseball finger" indicates, this condition is often the result of a sports accident. It may occur during basketball or volleyball, when a ball hits the point of the finger with enough force to cause it to flex strenuously at the tip.
Symptoms of Mallet Finger?
If a fracture of the bone at the tip of the finger (the distal phalanx) has occurred, the finger will hurt and appear swollen. If the tendon has ruptured but the bone is intact the injury may be quite painless. In both cases it is impossible to extend or straighten the finger. Failure to seek medical care soon enough after the injury may result in permanent loss of the ability to straighten the finger.
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