A mallet fracture is a broken bone at the tip of the finger. It’s common, rarely needs surgery, and is almost never caused by a mallet!
Which bone is broken in a mallet fracture?
A mallet fracture is a broken bone at the tip of the finger. It’s common, but rarely needs surgery. A mallet fracture is a broken distal phalanx bone.
The distal phalanx is the last of three bones that make up a finger. It’s at the tip of your finger, underneath the fingernail.
How does the bone break in a mallet fracture?
In the drawing below, you can see how the bone breaks.
The finger bends down under extreme force and the red outlined bone fragment breaks off and gets pulled toward the hand by the extensor tendon.
The extensor tendon normally straightens the finger. Since it’s now no longer attached, the finger looks drooped and can’t straighten.
How is a mallet fracture treated?
Mallet fractures usually heal with a simple splint beneath the fingertip. I recommend wearing it full time for about six weeks straight.