February 13, 2009

Mallet Finger

An oblique radiograph of the index finger of a young man who sustained trauma to the hand shows a flexion deformity of the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint (outlined with yellow line).

Diagnosis: Mallet Finger

  • It is a deformity caused by loss of extensor-tendon continuity to the DIP joint.
  • It is a misnomer - mallet = a hammer with a large wooden head, which does not look like this type of deformity.
  • There are many causes of mallet finger: the common one is laceration of extensor tendon but it may not leave a residual deformity. Other causes are intra-articular fracture of distal phalanx, tendon rupture or avulsion. Therefore, it may or may not be associated with a fracture
Stark HH, et al. Mallet finger. J Bone J Surg 1962;44:1061-1068.

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