What is the role of splinting in the management of mallet finger?

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

Mallet injuries, whether bony or tendinous, should be addressed with closed treatment. This injured area is constrained tightly by adjacent unpadded skin dorsally, a tightly constrained hinge joint volarly, and the germinal matrix of the nail distally. Splinting of the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint in full extension allows healing of the injured structure and restoration of excellent function and appearance. (See the images below.) [7]

Stack splints are widely used for the treatment of Stack splints are widely used for the treatment of mallet finger.
Molded plastic stack splint for the treatment of m Molded plastic stack splint for the treatment of mallet finger.
A skin-tight plaster cast can effectively hold the A skin-tight plaster cast can effectively hold the distal interphalangeal joint extended and the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) flexed when a mallet deformity is accompanied by a hyperextensible PIP. Not immobilizing the PIP in partial flexion risks the development of a swan-neck deformity.

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