What is a mallet finger?
Your child has torn the tendon that straightens the end joint of their finger. This is called a ‘mallet’ injury.
What is the treatment for a mallet injury?
Your child will need to wear a plastic splint until the tendon is fully healed. The member of staff seeing your child will fit this for you and show you how to safely remove the splint for washing.
Why must the finger be in a splint?
Tendons heal very slowly and to treat a ‘mallet’ injury the joint must be held in a splint for 6-8 weeks. If the finger is allowed to bend during this time, it may not heal and the ‘droop’ of the finger may be permanent. It is tempting to test how well your child’s finger is healing by taking the splint off or getting them to bend their fingertip, but this can cause further damage or delay healing and must be avoided.
How the splint works
The splint not only allows the tip of the finger to be kept straight when the hand is in use, but allows the joint below to move freely. By keeping the fingertip straight the tendon can heal and reattach itself to the bone.
What else do I need to know?
- Please give your child regular pain medicine such as paracetamol and/or ibuprofen (refer to the instructions on the bottle/packet regarding doses and frequency)
- Make sure your child wears the splint day and night
- Only remove the splint for washing as shown by the member of staff treating your child
- Your child should avoid sports, PE, rough play, dance or gymnastics etc. until advised by the orthopaedic team at the follow up appointment
- Even with splinting there is a chance that your child’s finger will not be as straight as before, but keeping it in the splint gives it the best chance possible
Our aim is to provide information that will help you understand your child’s injury and enable the appropriate after-care. There are lots of useful injury leaflets to download at the Royal Alexandra website.
NHS 111 – 24hr advice line
Brighton Walk-In Centre 0333 321 0946
Practice Plus GP 0300 130 3333
7 days a week 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended
to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.