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.