Mallet finger is a tendon injury that is causing by jamming the tip of the finger. These injuries are treated by Dr. Peter G. Fitzgibbons, MD at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics: Maryland Orthopedic Specialists Division. Dr. Fitzgibbons performed fellowship training in hand, wrist, and elbow surgery through the Harvard Hand & Upper Extremity Fellowship based at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. With locations in both Germantown and Bethesda, Maryland, he and a team of orthopaedists, hand therapists, and physical therapists offer a comprehensive range of services covering the diagnosis and treatment of mallet fingers.
A mallet finger is a tendon injury that occurs when the finger is jammed and the tendon that straightens the joint at the end of the finger is pulled off. Sometimes there is also a small fracture. The term describes the appearance of the finger, where the end of the finger droops down because the tendon is no longer attached.
The vast majority of mallet fingers will heal in a splint that holds the joint straight 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 6 weeks. Sometimes there is an associated fracture that causes the joint at the end of the finger to fall into an abnormal position. In rare cases, a procedure is done to move the bones back into place and hold them with pins for 4 to 6 weeks in order for the joint to heal in an appropriate position.
Surgery for a mallet finger is an outpatient procedure and can be done with local anesthesia. Pins are placed to hold the bones and these are taken out in the office after 4 to 6 weeks. Dr. Fitzgibbons performs most of these procedures at the Massachusetts Avenue Surgery Center, an outpatient surgery center that provides a safe, patient-oriented experience in a friendly and comfortable environment. Once the bones are healed and pins are out, hand therapy is begun under the direction of Stephanie
Clement, CHT, our certified hand therapist.