Mallet Finger

7/27/2018 | J. Todd Davis, MD

Have you ever “jammed” your finger on a ball? Sometimes, what seems like a minor injury can actually be fairly serious. 

Although, there are many injuries that can occur to fingers from “jamming” them, mallet finger is one injury that requires evaluation for successful return to full function. 

How it occurs

Mallet finger occurs when the tip of the finger is bent downward forcefully and frequently occurs when a ball hits the end of the finger. 

How to identify it

Pain and swelling will occur at the last joint. The finger will not actively extend and will stay in a slightly flexed position. 

Why you should evaluate these injuries

It is important to have these injuries evaluated because there can be fractures. 


Treatment usually consists of prolonged splinting in an extended position followed by therapy to regain full motion. Proper treatment will improve long term success but left untreated the finger may always stay in a flexed position, giving it a “mallet” appearance. 

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