Treatment Options for Mallet Finger: A Review


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Abstract

Background:Mallet finger is a common injury. The aim of this review is to give an overview of the different treatment options of mallet injuries and their indications, outcomes, and potential complications.Methods:A literature-based study was conducted using the PubMed database comprising world literature from January of 1980 until January of 2010. The following search terms were used: “mallet” and “finger.”Results:There are many variations in the design of splints; there are, however, only a few studies that compare the type of splints with one another. Splinting appears to be effective in uncomplicated and complicated cases. Equal results have been reported for early and delayed splinting therapy. To internally fixate a mallet finger, many different techniques have been reported; however, none of these studies examined their comparisons in a controlled setting. In chronic mallet injuries, a tenodermodesis followed by splinting or a tenotomy of the central slip is usually performed. If pain and impairment persist despite previous surgical corrective attempts, an arthrodesis of the distal interphalangeal joint should be performed.Conclusions:Uncomplicated cases of mallet injuries are best treated by splinting therapy; cases that do not react to splinting therapy are best treated by surgical interventions. Controversy remains about whether mallet injuries with a larger dislocated bone fragment are best treated by surgery or by external splinting.

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