Who hasn’t played a game of baseball when the sun is high up in the sky and the temperatures are high in the 80’s? We all know that nothing beats a good game of baseball among friends but an unexpected hand injury can cause you to be taken out of the game and sidelined for a few days, or weeks.
I’m talking of an injury that is typically called “Baseball Finger” because its common among most players. Its caused by a ball or other object striking the tip of the finger or thumb and forcibly bends it, the force tears the tendon that straightens the finger. The force of the blow may even pull away a piece of bone along with the tendon. The tip of the finger or thumb no longer straightens. This condition is sometimes referred to as baseball finger.
In a mallet (baseball) finger, the fingertip droops: it cannot straighten on its own power. The finger may be painful, swollen and bruised, especially if there is an associated fracture, but often the only finding is the inability to straighten the tip. Occasionally, blood collects beneath the nail. The nail can even become detached from beneath the skin fold at the base of the nail.
Pain at the outermost joint
Inability to straighten the finger
Mallet finger treatment typically includes:
Ice/cold therapy (Physicool) to relieve the pain and swelling
Application of a splint
Protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation (PRICE) is one of the most recommended approaches for the management of mallet finger. The aim is to minimize hemorrhage, swelling, inflammation and finger pain, to provide the best conditions for healing to take place.
Protection – protect the injured area from further injury – using a support bandage if appropriate
Rest – stop the activity that caused the injury and rest the injured joint or muscle. Avoid activity for the first 48 to 72 hours after injury
Ice – for the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, apply a cooling therapy like Physicool
Compression – compress or bandage the injured area to limit any swelling and movement that could damage it further
Elevation – keep the injured area raised and supported on a pillow to help reduce swelling
Physicool Bandages provides the key stages of PRICE in a single reusable bandage, providing protection, cooling and compression for the finger to help the healing process. A Physicool bandage can be applied to the injury and the cooling effect recharged by spraying Physicool Coolant directly onto the bandage whilst it is in position. It is very important to apply cold (Physicool Cold Bandages) treatment as soon as possible in order to reduce the amount of swelling and increased blood flow to the affected finger.
Physicool is a unique cotton bandage impregnated with a patented liquid which draws heat away from the affected tissues by rapid evaporation. While the deep tissues are being cooled, the simultaneous compression effects of Physicool modify the inflammatory response to soft tissue damage which helps promote healing.
Medical attention should be sought within a week after injury. It is especially important to seek immediate attention if there is blood beneath the nail or if the nail is detached. This may be a sign of a nail bed laceration or an open (compound) fracture.
The goal is to keep the fingertip straight until the tendon heals. Most of the time, a splint will be worn full-time for eight weeks (see Figure 3). Over the next three to four weeks, most patients gradually begin to wear the splint less frequently. The finger usually regains acceptable function and appearance with this treatment.
**If the pain is persistent and prolonged see a doctor.**