The Diagnosis and Management of Mallet Finger Injuries

Hand (N Y). 2017 May;12(3):223-228. doi: 10.1177/1558944716642763. Epub 2016 Mar 30.


Background: Mallet finger is a common injury of the extensor tendon insertion causing an extension lag of the distal interphalangeal joint.

Methods: We reviewed the most current literature on the epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of mallet finger injuries focusing on the indications and outcomes of surgical intervention.

Results: Nonoperative management has been advocated for almost all mallet finger injuries; however, complex injuries are usually treated surgically. There is still controversy regarding the absolute indications for surgical intervention.

Conclusions: Although surgery is generally indicated in the case of mallet fractures involving more than one-third of the articular surface as well as in all patients who develop volar subluxation of the distal phalanx, a significant advantage of surgical management even in those complicated cases has yet to be clearly proven.

Keywords: bony mallet; distal interphalangeal joint; distal phalanx fracture; extensor tendon; mallet finger.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Finger Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Finger Injuries / epidemiology
  • Finger Injuries / surgery
  • Finger Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Finger Joint / surgery
  • Humans
  • Radiography
  • Soccer / injuries
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Tendon Injuries / epidemiology
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery