©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Mallet Finger


What was the cause of your mallet finger? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Alan111, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 14

Like one of the earlier posts, I was cleaning a carpet when my middle finger (right hand) got caught and the tendon snapped, so I went straight to the hospital where they diagnosed mallet finger. During the first two weeks of wearing the splint it bent over so I had to start all over again. Last week after 6 weeks in the splint the doctor reckoned it was ok but it went back to the original mallet shape. So another 8 weeks with it on! Really hoping it heals this time, otherwise it might be an operation.

Comment from: DD, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 15

My cat bunny-kicked me. He was fighting with another cat, and I reached for his back legs to pull him away. Unfortunately, I only grabbed one leg, and his powerful kick landed on the distal phalanx of my little finger. Ouch! I chose to wear a splint rather than surgery, but now 3 months later the mallet finger has not healed, and has affected my carpal tunnel. Guess it's time to see the surgeon. That's another type of ouch!

Comment from: DRDE, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 14

I was cleaning a diet Pepsi spill out of my carpet. The first scrub forward and I heard a pop, it was the middle finger, right hand. The end of my finger was hanging down and on the top was a white spot. The spot felt like a sharp bone when I touched it. I went to the doctor. He said it was a torn ligament and a small fracture. I am wearing a splint but my finger slips down the splint every time I get my hand wet.

Comment from: jenniferb, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 24

I was cleaning a spot on the carpet and the tip of my right hand middle finger bent downwards. I heard a crack like when your knuckle cracks. I did this about 3 months ago. I went to the emergency room to get x-rays right after it happened. I made an appointment with an orthopedic doctor and was put in a splint for mallet finger and wore it all of the time but my finger didn't heal. I'm having surgery in about a week to repair the tendon and have a pin put in. I hope this fixes it once and for all.

Comment from: Opin8d1, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 22

In April, 2018, I injured my right middle finger while trying to clean a spot on the seat of my car. I heard a loud pop, my fingertip started hanging over and I had swelling but no pain. I thought it was broken so went to the emergency room same day and was diagnosed with mallet finger. X-ray was taken and determined I had a torn tendon. I was given a splint and advised to see a hand specialist as soon as possible. The hand specialist issued a different type of splint and advised me to wear it for 6 to 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, my follow-up treatment includes wearing splint at night only for another 2 to 3 weeks. My fingertip is still slightly droopy and I have minor swelling.

Comment from: d, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 20

I am almost 8 weeks with my splint for my mallet finger, and my finger is more swollen and hurts worse now than when it first started. I am not sure this is normal. When I saw the doctor two weeks ago he said yeah, it's going to swell but it is so painful now all the time.

Comment from: Louis, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 26

I was cleaning the front seat in my car with a microfiber towel when I heard a sound like my knuckle cracking, except a little louder and more defined. The tip of my right hand middle finger dropped. I had no pain and little swelling from the mallet finger. I went to an orthopedic doctor two days later, no torn off bone fragment, just a torn tendon. I have worn a splint for 6 weeks and it appears to have healed; I can keep my finger straight, but it won't hyperextend backward like it used too. It may be because my finger is swollen. Straight is good enough for me, I will continue to wear the splint for at least 3 more weeks. I bought two more types of splints, try different kinds to see what you like best. Keep the finger straight, but let the finger bend at the middle knuckle. I wear a vinyl glove when taking a shower or washing the dishes. Good luck, it will repair itself!

Comment from: Matt, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 20

I ended up with a mallet finger after a martial arts injury. Essentially got kicked and the tip of the finger must have been bent on impact of the kick and the tip just went limp. There was no swelling, no pain, no bruising but I went and got it looked at as I initially thought it was a muscle spasm, turns out it ripped off the bone. It is 8 weeks in a splint and the finger is back straight with some swelling at the knuckle which prevents some flexion but I am assuming with some rehabilitation and exercises to lengthen the tendon again I will have full range back.

Comment from: CatZS, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

I am not really sure how my mallet finger happened but it happened after I reached for my wine at our church festival! I must have hit the table with my finger. I noticed I couldn't straighten my finger out. Not much pain. Someone thought I may have dislocated it so they pulled on my finger. I got a splint on the next day and I am still wearing the splint. I am nervous to take it off next week in case my finger starts to droop again. That means starting all over again.


Pictures of the 7 Riskiest Workout Moves, and How to Improve Them See Slideshow
Comment from: Ouch, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

On July 4th while cleaning the bathtub I slipped and jammed my middle finger. The pain was blinding, I heard it pop and immediately the fingertip hung down, turned purple and started swelling. My husband purchased a finger splint. I splinted the finger and saw the doctor 2 days later. It is now August 17, the finger has been splinted 24/7 and is no better. Hand surgeon on September 12 will determine if I need surgery for the mallet finger. I think I know the answer is surgery; will follow up after that appointment.

Comment from: Badfinger, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 02

I was opening a large jar of sauerkraut, and the lid was too large to fit a lid wrench. I was putting a lot of force into it, and put too much pressure as my left pinky felt like the tip popped. My finger tip would not straighten out, bent about 30 degrees. I could not straighten it without the help of my other hand. I did not feel pain or swelling, but something felt wrong when it popped. I read online to put a Popsicle stick splint on it. I will be seeing a doctor soon, as this happened on Sunday.

Comment from: Shari, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 10

I was in rehabilitation for a broken shoulder and the physical therapist had me throwing a weighted ball onto a trampoline and catching it over my head. After a few throws the ball hit my pinky finger but I didn't even notice that it was hanging until I went on to do the next exercise. I have been in a splint in the mallet finger for 2 months. The first month looked promising and my finger seemed to be healing but the second month my finger started swelling and drooping and now it's really stiff. I will probably want surgery if it continues to look the way it does.

Comment from: Jane, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 07

I injured my little finger in January 2016 and was diagnosed with a mallet finger. My finger was immobilized in a Stax splint. Then after a few weeks the hand therapist gave me another splint. It is now June and my finger is still bent by 20 degrees and I am having problems typing. I wonder if I should have an operation to fix my finger.

Comment from: PetLover, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 01

I was cleaning up cat barf on a light carpet and scrubbing with the sponge quite vigorously. As I pushed forward my middle finger (right hand unfortunately) was driven forward and under. Ouch! I immediately iced it thinking it was just out of joint. My husband wanted to push it back in; no! I waited over 3 weeks till the online nurse said to get to emergency room. Tendon was severed and it was splinted for over 3 months. Now it is in the Silver Ring Splint but it is no better. Now I am looking into having a permanent pin put in for the mallet finger. I would rather have it permanently straight than hanging down.

Comment from: BigK9mama, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 27

I have had two mallet fingers. The first one was my middle finger on my right hand about 8 months ago. I was tucking a cover into the seat of a recliner when I hit my finger on one of the support bars of the chair. I heard a loud pop and experienced extreme pain. The tip of my middle finger was bent at a 90 degree angle and would not move. I did not seek medical attention for it. Instead I splinted it for about 6 weeks and it healed mostly. The finger is usable and just locks occasionally. My second mallet finger occurred about 2 or 3 months ago and was to my pinkie finger on my right hand. I was pushing clothes into a laundry bag that was next to the bed headboard. I pushed my pinkie directly into the bed post (wooden about 4x4 inches) and heard a loud pop and immediate pain. The tip of my pinkie was at about a 120 degree angle. The entire finger swelled and was extremely sore. I sought medical attention after a couple of days and learned that I had ruptured my ligament and fortunately did not show any fractures. I was given a splint that I wore for 6 weeks. This finger has not healed well and will probably require surgery to correct it. As of now this finger is only 50 percent usable.

Comment from: S in MN, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 27

I jammed my pinkie finger into our bedpost while putting laundry bag. This resulted in rupturing the ligament and being in a splint for 6 weeks. Some improvement has occurred, but I still have deformity in the tip of the pinkie finger and little or no mobility of the tip. I suspect that I will need surgery to repair the ligament attachment to the joint. This has surprisingly been a very debilitating injury as I am right handed and injured my right pinkie.

Comment from: Older Lady, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 23

I bought a new mattress, one of those 20 inch thick types, but I had my old sheets that fit only a 15 inch mattress. While pulling on the last corner, I heard a pop, pulled out my hand and saw a weird looking ring finger. It was bent sideways and the tip hung lifeless. I thought this can't be good. I saw the doctor three days later. He said if I wore the splint for six weeks, it would be fine. After six weeks the fingertip still looked the same. The doctor said to wear it another two weeks. After 8 weeks it still looked the same. Now the next step is to have it pinned for another 8 weeks and the doctor says there is no guarantee it will be straight. He told me, I only have a three month window to try and fix the problem and it's getting awful close, wish me luck. I will relay my progress after the pinning operation. Also, I will need physical therapy on the injured knuckle. Moral, don't try and save money by using old sheets on a new mattress. Figure it'll cost me nearly USD 7,000 before it's all said and done! New sheets were cheaper.

Comment from: bookbert, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

The shopping cart at the garden center had a collapsible top shelf. I had to lift it up and then it folded down. It came down before I expected and pinched the top of my finger between the shelf and the frame. After the initial smash the finger did not really hurt much but I noticed I couldn't straighten it. Now I am in a splint for at least 6 weeks and seeing a hand specialist for the mallet finger because I am a piano player.

Comment from: capemama, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

I was playing volleyball and received a hard serve in an attempt to set the ball. It felt a little different from a regular jammed finger. It got very tight right away. I continued to play, attempting to protect it, then splinted it to another finger during a break and iced it after the game. Regular primary care doctor didn't think it was broken or that tendon was damaged, but sent me for x-rays just in case. Then he just had me wear a generic finger splint. Three weeks later I felt no improvement and went to an orthopedist. He gave me a stacked splint and sent me to a hand specialist. My mistake was not going right away to a hand specialist. He had a custom splint made for mallet finger so that I could bend the healthy joints so with the new splint I am back at square 1, but finally feel on the right track. Keeping the other fingers crossed!

Comment from: Doc, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 12

My mallet finger was caused by a dog bite (not one of my dogs) and I am experiencing very acute pain after having it splinted by a hand surgeon today. The uppermost joint was fractured and the dog bite occurred 3 weeks ago.

Comment from: JT, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 09

I was trying to remove a dried spot of paint off the floor and apparently scrubbed too hard. My finger just drooped! I thought I broke it; but upon independent research discovered it was mallet finger and went to the doctor for verification. I've had it a month with little healing. Probably I will have to wear a splint for 8 weeks. Never had any pain whatsoever. Doctor said there's usually over-working of the finger prior to the injury and a sudden impact or pressure causes the trauma. I apply Arnica on the bruised top of the finger and then wrap half a Popsicle stick with flesh-colored tape as a splint so I can still type and use a mouse.

Comment from: Boon dog, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 11

I was diagnosed with mallet finger after catching a football with the family while on vacation. I am 5 weeks into it and have not bent the joint. I am using an oval 8 splint which is less of a pain to wear 24/7. Everything I read says it may heal in 6 weeks. I am a bit nervous about trying to bend it with the worry that it will not straighten back out after the 6 weeks, so I am curious to hear from someone who has gone through it.

Comment from: DD, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

I got my mallet finger cleaning a spot on my carpet.

Comment from: Obama sucks, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 16

Baseball hit my ring finger head on. I had a splint for eight weeks.

Comment from: Riley Fuzzell, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 25

I tried to break up a dog fight. I must have jammed my ring finger because it would not straighten. There was no pain or swelling. It's been in a splint for three weeks so far.

Comment from: Alibinsd, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 18

I was scraping some gunk off a floor and jammed my finger. I heard a pop. My finger looked just like the mallet finger picture. Now it's been two weeks with the splint and it's a pain in the butt. I have six more weeks to go and hopefully it'll be normal.

Comment from: steelydawn, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I was pulling out a long tree root from an old sandbox in the back yard. I lost my balance and my finger jammed into the ground. Thank goodness it was sand or it might have fractured the bone.

Comment from: KLMEsq, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 23

I saw a bug in my bathroom, and while in abject terror, I grabbed a shoe and slammed it down twice to kill it. After reading all of these stories I'm worried that I broke a fragment of bone. There was no real pain until the next day. If I had just used bug spray! I don't have insurance so I can't just go to the doctor. I have to splint it and pray it heals.

Comment from: Diamo, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 18

I was pushing off my boot and sock with my hand when I heard a pop and got a sharp pain (which wasn't too bad really). I went to hospital and had an X-ray. It seemed fine as far as the bones were concerned. I was given a splint and I kept the splint on for eight weeks but the finger still droops. After weeks of wearing this, it's disappointing it's still drooping, but I believe there are other splints which may be better.

Comment from: dmm63, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 04

I fell down 14 slippery stairs.

Comment from: Ouch, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 19

A drill cord wrapped around my hand and the drill would not shut off! As the cord stopped tightening around my hand and fingers I heard a light pop! Didn't hurt any worse than over squeezing a finger but the end would not straighten! Just had a pin shoved in the end of the two bones!! Repair hurts way worse than the injury!!! 6 to 8 weeks to heal.

Comment from: T, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 31

I got my mallet finger taking my socks off! I mean really!? Taking my socks off? I couldn't believe it. It was even more bothersome to hear that it will take more than eight weeks to heal. I would almost rather they just amputate the thing.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

Middle finger was damaged jumping over a steel chain link fence. 17 sutures were required around the fingerpad and DIP joint. The mallet condition became evident a few weeks after the injury.

Comment from: A. Maryland, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

I put all my body's weight on fingers grasping a towel while cleaning a coffee spill in crevice of car seat.

Comment from: sandladyvb, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 21

Rollerblading accident. I fractured my finger.

Comment from: Bradshaw, 13-18 Male (Patient) Published: September 19

I was putting on a backpack -- a heavy one as I'm an army cadet. I swung it around my shoulder and my finger got caught behind the strap. I heard a popping noise, but still continued on. It wasn't until I looked at my finger that I realized I could not straighten it and went to seek medical attention. I have made a splint and this is my fourth week after it happened. It's getting straighter and I have no pain, but I still can't straighten it. Hopefully it turns out alright.

Comment from: saf, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 14

I was drying dishes and a frying pan slipped, knocking my little finger. The finger was still straight at this point, although a little bit sore. I went to have a shower and felt something move inside the finger. When I looked at the finger, the top part of it had bent forward and I could not straighten it.

Comment from: dawgpound, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: July 12

Im a nurse and while working a patient punched my open hand and i heard a popping sound. When i left the room i noticed the tip of my finger would not go up. After seeing a hand specialist they said no surgery but I had to wear a special brace for 7-8 weeks. Its been about 6 weeks and my finger is still swollen and sore. The worse part is the brace is causing my skin to break down pretty bad. The best thing to do is line your brace with some kind of paper towel or toilet paper and change it often. Hopefully I sget this thing off soon...

Comment from: TWHladyinLV, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 05

I had a horse-riding accident where I fell off the horse and hit the metal rail in the arena. I broke four ribs and had a blow-out fracture of the orbital floor of my left eye. I had pain in my little finger and noticed it would not straighten, but my other areas of pain where so overwhelming I didn't do anything about the finger right away. After a few weeks the finger was still very painful I had it x-rayed and it showed there was a fracture at the joint. Now I am to go to a hand MD to get a mallet brace for now.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

I was scrubbing a stain on the carpet with a hand towel and I heard a pop and felt a quick jab of pain. After I finished cleaning (with other hand), I realized the tip would not go up. I made a splint with 2 sticks and tape and saw a doctor a few days later. It has been eight weeks wearing the splint and I am supposed to see a physical therapist next week. I get stinging pains in the finger alot, like a needle is being pushed thru it.

Comment from: Lolie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

My mallet finger injury occurred as I was tucking the cover on my love seat in between the creases. I heard a pop sound and looked at my fingers and realized that my index finger was hanging. I just thought my finger just needed to be popped back into place so I made and appointment to see the doctor. It would take four days to see him, and in the meantime I bumped it quite a bit. This time it really hurt and got swollen so I went to emergency. There, I found out it was a mallet finger so now I'm waiting to see a specialist and hoping my finger isn't going to be deformed. Now it has been almost four weeks without any care.

Comment from: idiot bedmaker, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 12

I was making the bed and jammed my hand down the back to push the sheets under the mattress. I didn't realize how short the pocket was. I heard as sharp crack as the flexor tendon went. I've iced it and now I'm in a splint, but there is no real pain.

Comment from: Pianoman, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 20

I've had 2 mallet finger injuries. One injury happened nine years ago while undressing. I was taking off a pair of pants that fit rather snugly. My hand lost its grip on the waistband, of the pants; my hand slipped, and my middle finger got caught either on the pocket or the folds of material. This was truly a freak accident! My second mallet finger injury (on my other hand) happened just three months ago. This injury occurred as I was making the bed and shoving the sheets between the mattress and box spring. Both injuries were not painful when they occurred. I did, however, both times hear a sound as if someone had snapped their finger.

Comment from: Olive oil, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I was cleaning the carpet with a soft cloth- heard "crunching" or "cracking" sound, and when I strained up to finish, my finger was just hanging there. After 6 weeks of wearing a splint as the doctor prescribed, there is little/no difference. There was never any pain involved with this.

Comment from: BearRed1, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 13

I was playing basketball and the ball hit my fingertip after a strange carom off the rim. It didn't feel that bad, but I did notice swelling and the bent tip, which I could bend back into the correct position, but could not maintain in that position. I fashioned a popsicle stick splint to correct the bend and give it support, then saw the doctor a day later. He recognized it as mallet finger.


Health Solutions From Our Sponsors