Non-Operative Mallet Finger Treatment

The majority of mallet finger injuries can be treated without surgery.

Non-Operative Treatment


Ice should be applied immediately and the hand should be elevated above the level of the heart.

Medical Attention

Medical attention should be sought within a week after injury. It is very important to seek immediate attention if there is blood beneath the nail or if the nail is detached. This may be a sign of nail bed laceration or open (compound) fracture.

The doctor may apply a splint to hold the fingertip straight (in extension) until it heals. Most of the time, a splint will be worn full time for eight weeks.

Over the next three to four weeks, most patients gradually begin to wear the splint less frequently.

Although the finger usually regains an acceptable function and appearance with this treatment plan, many patients may not regain full fingertip extension.

In children, mallet finger injuries may involve the cartilage that controls bone growth. The doctor must carefully evaluate and treat this injury in children, so that the finger does not become stunted or deformed.


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