Finger injuries are common in sports involving the hands. Such activities primarily include volleyball, basketball, handball, baseball. With proper treatment, most of these injuries of the mallet finger usually heal without significant problems. These traumas include what is referred to as a baseball finger. Most often, mallet finger occurs when the ball unexpectedly hits a straightened finger, resulting in a sharp and excessive bending of the tip. As a result, the extensor tendon of the fingers is injured in the area of the last interphalangeal joint, which leads to the inability to straighten the fingertip. The curled finger becomes like a mallet.
Most often, mallet finger occurs as a result of a direct blow to the tip of an extended finger, and in some cases as a result of a small external force, including performing everyday harmless routine tasks: getting dressed, undressing, making a bed, buttoning up buttons. The most common mechanism of closed injury of baseball finger is a strong flexion of the terminal phalanx, while the finger is actively held in the extension position: hitting the tip of a basketball or volleyball ball, hitting the floor with a finger, pulling a sock with a straightened finger, trying to tuck a blanket or bedspread with straight fingers. In some patients, the mallet finger occurs without visible trauma.
Immediately after getting a baseball finger, patients experience joint pain. Outwardly, the finger becomes unattractive. Within a few weeks, the pain subsides, but without treatment, functional disorders persist. Baseball finger makes it difficult to hold small objects, wear gloves. The mallet finger constantly bumps into protruding objects, which can intensify pain and increase deformity.
Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Mallet of Baseball Finger
Typically, treatment for mallet finger is nonsurgical. If there is no fracture, then a splint is applied to the injured joint for 6-8 weeks, after which another 4-6 weeks the splint should be applied only at night. The most important condition is continuous use of the splint on the mallet finger for the first 6 weeks. It cannot be removed even in the shower. Otherwise, the tendon ends that have just begun to grow together will rupture again and the healing process will begin anew, which will significantly increase the recovery time.