From professional baseball players to little league, mallet finger can occur if the ball hits the top of a finger and bends it down forcefully. Mallet finger is sometimes called baseball finger because it occurs so often when playing this particular sport. Once injured, the result is a finger that bends down toward the palm which you cannot straighten. So, how exactly do you deal with the follow up care for a mallet finger injury?
Why Mallet Finger Happens
There is a tendon that attaches to the tip of your finger bone which helps you to keep your fingers straight. If the tendon becomes torn or stretched, you can suffer from mallet finger. It can also occur if the tendon pulls a piece of bone away from the rest of the bone.
Common Treatments And Follow Up Care For Mallet Finger
Splinting is the most common type of treatment with a mallet finger injury. Wear the splint as Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas recommends, or it may take longer to heal. The goal of this first line treatment is to keep the finger straight in the splint until the tendon heals.
It is important to seek treatment, especially when this occurs in children.
If the tendon is stretched and not torn, it is recommended that you wear the splint for 4 – 6 weeks to allow the tendon to heal. If the tendon has been pulled off the bone, it usually takes 6 – 8 weeks wearing the splint all the time. Beyond that, wear it only at night for another 3 – 4 weeks, or whatever your doctor recommends.
At Home Follow Up Care Of Mallet Finger
Adhering to all the “at home” follow up care is essential for proper healing. They include the following:
- Keep the finger as straight as possible when cleaning the splint.
- Attach a plastic bag over the splint when showering. Should it become inadvertently wet, dry carefully.
- Use an ice pack when needed for pain. 20 minutes each hour you are awake for the first 2 days, then reduce the time to 10 – 15 minutes three times a day.
- Take OTC pain meds like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Naproxen and low dose aspirin are suggested, but always consult with Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas if you have high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease, or stomach ulcers.
Follow all recommendations for mallet finger treatment and aftercare. The majority of mallet finger injuries do not require surgery, but early treatment is essential.
Contact Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas for a proper diagnosis if you injure your finger playing sports or performing work activities
As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (713) 230-8055 today!