Did a ball or other object hit the end of your finger? Did you smack the end of your finger against something hard, or crush your fingertip in a door or drawer? If so, you may have Mallet Finger. Mallet Finger also called “baseball finger,” is when the end of your finger droops in a bent position and won’t straighten by itself. You can push your finger into a straight position but it won’t stay straight without support. So right about now you’re probably asking yourself- “ what should I do about my mallet finger ”?
How can I treat my mallet finger?
The majority of mallet finger injuries can be treated without surgery. The key is to seek immediate treatment from your health care provider. Don’t assume because you can still use your hand or finger, it isn’t necessary to see your doctor. With mallet finger, the longer the joint remains in the bent position, the harder it will be to fix.
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Apply ice or a cold compress to reduce swelling. Do not put ice directly on the skin but be sure to wrap it in a towel or something similar. Wash out any cuts and apply an antibiotic cream to prevent infection.
It’s important to treat a mallet finger as soon as possible with a finger splint that holds your finger straight(full time) for 4 to 6 weeks to allow the tendon to heal. Your healthcare provider can help you confirm that splinting is the appropriate treatment. Your splint can be removed carefully for washing and skin care, but you must keep your finger straight at all times or the healing process will be disrupted.
Finger Splint Options:
There are a few types of splints that can be used for mallet finger, each having advantages and disadvantages.
Aluminum and Foam Splints:
- Available at most drugstores
- Must be taped in place
- Has to be removed to wash your hands
- Foam may degrade over time
- Skin can get macerated from lack of air getting to the skin
- Splint can limit the use of your finger and hand
- Holds the fingertip straight
- Must be taped on
- Covers the fingertip so you cannot use the finger
- Difficult to wash hands with it on
- Skin can get macerated
- It can be difficult to find the right fit
- Tape is not needed
- Fingertip is open; open design means there is no problem with skin maceration
- Angled Band design allows adjustable sizing (Depending on which end you put on first, it will fit tighter or looser)
Easy to slide on and off for skin care; you can easily wash your hands with it on
- Gel sheeting can be used under it -for cushioning and to help hold the splint in place
- Sizing must be correct
- Available only online
- Occasionally splint may need to be adjusted by a hand therapist for a custom fit
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