Baseball or Mallet Finger

Most cases of baseball or mallet finger do not require surgery and can be treated with rest, ice, elevation, and continuously wearing a splint that extends the finger for at least eight weeks (maybe more). However, if blood collects under the nail or the nail detaches, there could be a nail bed laceration or compound fracture—both of which require immediate medical attention. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair a fracture or joint malalignment. While some people regain full functionality in the impacted finger, some do not. A hand therapist may wish to monitor the injury—and prescribe hand exercises—especially if the baseball or mallet finger causes a deformity. He or she will be able to prescribe the right splint and provide education on proper skin conditioning to avoid common splinting issues. Physical therapy also may be necessary following surgery to repair a baseball or mallet finger. At this point, therapy is generally focused on maintaining joint mobility and preventing stiffness from disuse. The goal is to speed recovery and facilitate the return to normal activities or sports. A physical therapy program for baseball or mallet finger also may include a home exercise program to ensure continuous progress between in-office visits.