Also known as the “baseball finger”, a mallet injury happens when the extensor tendon tears or breaks. If the blow to the tip of the finger is hard enough, a fracture may occur. The good news is that usually these injuries can be treated by splinting the digit. Michael Lindroos, Dassiet COO and experienced cast technician, shows how to apply UCAST for a mallet finger injury.
Sometimes finger injuries are dismissed as trivial. However, if left untreated they can lead to painful and serious consequences for the patient like arthritis or deformity. Mallet finger injuries are common and usually straightforward to diagnose.
1. Prepare your UCAST
The UCAST package contains 4 splints. Start by removing the splints from the pouch and placing the number of splints you’ll need in either a flatbed heater, or express heater.
Heating times will vary slightly depending on which method you are using – check the user instruction for specifics[SH4] . In our express heater the splint will warm up in approximately 50 seconds.
After the splint has softened and warmed up, carefully lift it from the heater and place it onto the Unitex wrap. Apply light pressure to make the splint grip on the fabric.
2. Immobilize the mallet finger
Applying the mallet splint is very easy. Ask the patient to extend the finger carefully, then apply the splint and wrap it gently around the affected distal phalanx joint. Use the two straps to secure the splint in place. Bend the joint into the correct position, slightly bending upwards, and hold it in place until the splint is rigid enough to hold its shape. The splint will be fully rigid in 2–3 minutes.
3. UCAST doesn’t get in the way of hand therapy
Even if hand injuries like the mallet finger are common and relatively simple to treat most of the time, they have a big impact on the patient's quality of life. Losing functionality with just one finger can make a big difference in everyday tasks.
Hand therapy is essential to help the patient regain the use of the injured finger as soon as the tendon and possible fracture permit. Typically, after 8–12 weeks the patient will be able to start wearing the splint only at night and will be able to start light exercises to return movement to the digit.
UCAST splints are easy to take off and put back on, and patients can learn to do it themselves with little guidance. If you suspect your patient might be non-compliant, we have included strong, two-sided tape in the UCAST pouch. You can use it to secure the splint in place. The shape of the splint can be adjusted anytime during the healing process with a heat gun, if necessary. And once your patient has healed fully, you can recycle UCAST – no more guilty conscience about plastic waste!
2. Lamaris, G. A., & Matthew, M. K. (2017). The Diagnosis and Management of Mallet Finger Injuries. Hand (New York, N.Y.), 12(3), 223-228. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558944716642763