What is the role of swan-neck deformity in the etiology of mallet finger?

Updated: Aug 27, 2018
  • Author: Roy A Meals, MD; Chief Editor: Harris Gellman, MD  more...
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Answer

With a disruption of the dorsal mechanism at the DIP joint, the entire power of extension is directed to the PIP joint. Over time, and especially if the volar plate is lax, this concentrated extension force results in PIP joint hyperextension and a swan-neck deformity (ie, the DIP joint rests in an abnormally flexed position and the PIP joint rests in a hyperextended position). This deformity frequently causes a functional deficit. [5] Therefore, even if a mallet finger is not particularly symptomatic from a functional or cosmetic perspective, treatment of the mallet injury may preclude development of swan-neck deformity.


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