The non-operative management of bony mallet injuries

J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2021 Jun;46(5):460-465. doi: 10.1177/1753193421992986. Epub 2021 Feb 15.


Over a 4-year period, 218 mallet fractures in 211 adult patients were treated using a custom-made thermoplastic splint. Clinical results were collected prospectively, including the visual analogue score for pain, the range of motion and extensor lag, and the Patient Evaluation Measure (PEM). The joints were congruent in 168 and subluxed in 50. There were no differences in range of movement, extensor lag or PEM associated with articular subluxation or the size of the articular fragment. Pre-existing joint degeneration did not influence outcome. Non-surgical treatment demonstrates predictably good outcomes regardless of fragment size or subluxation in most patients and should be considered when discussing treatment for patients with bony mallet fractures.Level of evidence: III.

Keywords: Mallet fracture; mallet finger; non-surgical management; splint.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Finger Injuries* / therapy
  • Finger Joint
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal
  • Fractures, Bone* / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Splints
  • Tendon Injuries* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome