What is it?

This common injury is often caused by a force hitting the tip of the finger causing it to hyper- flex. This injury is frequently sustained during ball sports in particular football, basketball or netball. The force to the finger tip causes rupture of the tendon that straightens the tip of the finger. It may also include a small fracture.

Your finger will present with the tip bent down (like a “mallet”, hence the name) and you will be unable to straighten it, If this occurs you should contact your Hand Therapist, immediate treatment is important for a full recovery.


A small custom thermoplastic finger splint will be made by your Hand Therapist to hold the tip of the finger in the correct position for healing for 6 weeks 24/7. This allows the tendon insertion that has pulled away from the bone to reattach. After 6 weeks the splint will be removed and therapy focuses on attempting to actively straighten the finger tip. Occasionally surgery is required to repair these injuries if the tendon causes avulsion of a large bone fragment.