Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


I broke the tip of my index finger trying to poke a hole in some ice. The doctor said it was an unusual cause of a mallet finger fracture. What's the usual cause?


Sports! A mallet finger fracture of the tip of any finger usually occurs during a sporting activity. It's so common in baseball it is often called baseball finger.

The cause is usually catching a ball wrong. The tip of the finger is forced suddenly into flexion. The extensor tendon and a small piece of bone pull away from the joint. Without the tendon to extend the tip of the finger, it stays in a bent position. The finger looks like a mallet, thus the name.

David M. Kalainov, MD, et al. Nonsurgical Treatment of Closed Mallet Finger Fractures. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. May 2005. Vol. 30A. No. 3. Pp. 580-586.

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