Mallet Finger and Tennis

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
Wondering if any of you have or had mallet or "baseball finger". Ironically I did not injure it playing tennis but afterward. Last week I played friday night, one 6-1 then went to a super store to get a bag of flour, lifted a 50 lb bag of high gluten flour, it slipped and bam mallet finger. In a splint now for 6 weeks until I can take it off. Please give us your experiences with this. Thanks.
 

gmgpistons

New User
I'm a right handed player and got mallet finger just over five weeks ago playing basketball. I didnt realize what happened, then a little later noticed the ball felt strange in my hand, then noticed my right pinky finger would not straighten at the end. I've been in a small splint now since then, and actually get the splint off in two days. I havent been able to play tennis or anything where I need to use my full right hand to grip anything (tennis, golf, etc). I've gotten used to the splint, although it is a real inconvenience overall...and of course I miss playing tennis. I've used the time to focus on other things, like running and starting the P90x program. I'll report back on Wednesday after my visit to the doctor and the splint comes off. Remember, if you take the splint off to wash your finger or anything, make sure to keep it completely straight. You dont want to have to start from square one again by bending the finger prematurely.
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
gmgpistons, thanks for the input on this subject. I feel bad for you having this issue since I know how it is to have it. Even tho it's my left pinky it slows down my typing in my left hand which throws off my left hand which throws off my right hand, but my typing has picked up some now.

Glad it's my left not my right hand so if I want I could play tennis still but I want to lay off tennis for a couple of weeks as not to fling my left hand too much to stress it out altho I plan on hitting some light forehands at the racquet ball court at the gym.

Are you using a stax splint or a standard padded metal finger splint? I started with the standard finger splint but it kept on moving or falling off in the sleep but now I have a stax splint which is made for this sort of injury. Happened over a week ago but because it fell off a few times, just as you say you start over. So it will be an extra week rather than the standard 6 weeks. The stax is great tho.
 
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gmgpistons

New User
Yes, I know what you mean about the typing. After about a week or so, though, i kind of got used to it and can type pretty normal now. I am using a stax splint. It is much simpler than the standard finger splint.

Like I mentioned before I've been doing some running and P90x, although I usually tape up my pinky a little more for added support during these activities. For push ups and pull ups (i've been using heavy resistance bands instead of regular pullups) i just keep my pinky straight and use the rest of my hand/fingers for support. Sometimes I tape up a little too tight and I can feel the pressure in my finger when exercising due to the increase blood pressure, so I have to be careful not to tape too tight.

Overall, i've just progressively gotten more and more used to the splint while still being careful with it as I really want to make sure its good to go when the splint comes off in two days. I'll let you know how it goes on Wednesday...
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
gmgpistons, thanks for the additional info on this. Look forward to Wednesday to hear how it goes. Hope it goes well for you and you can get back on the courts to play some tennis.
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
gmgpistons, I know tomorrow we'll find out how the result of wearing the splint for 6 weeks turns out but if I may I have an important question.

How the heck do you keep it from getting wet in the shower? When I was wearing the regular finger splint I just held my hand away from the streaming water of the shower head but when I got the stax splint I figured who cares if it gets wet because there is no foam padding in it to get soaked like the other splint. I learned quick it's better not to get it wet or you'll have wet skin under that splint surface and your skin will get saturated with water like when you go swimming too long. So now I keep it away from the water which makes for an incomplete shower. I did put some plastic over the finger and taped it but it leaked and water got in so I took the splint off trying to keep it straight and dry it off. You guessed it, I bent my finger by accident and now I'm at square one again. So now I just avoid getting it wet.

Please give me advice on how you deal with it in the shower.


Thanks
 

gmgpistons

New User
Ha, I knew i should have included "shower tips". That has been one of the biggest challenges. What i did was take a shower cap and put it over the finger, then put a rubber band at the base of the finger to hold the cap in place. I would wrap the rubber band around 2-3 times to keep water out, but not too tight to avoid cutting off circulation. I have also used a plastic grocery bag, just cut away the bottom corner and use that over the finger with a rubber band. Hope that helps!
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
Thanks gmgpistons, tonight I successfully prevented it from getting wet. I put the plastic that I cut from a zip lock and taped it better than yesterday. I will try your suggestions or get maybe some disposable food service gloves since they are pretty inexpensive.

Looking forward to your report on your results tomorrow.


Thanks
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
Bought some food service gloves now I can shower without getting it wet. Look forward to hearing how your results were from all these weeks in the stax splint. Hope it goes well with you.
 

gmgpistons

New User
Wow I wish I would have thought of the food service gloves...great idea. I got some good news and bad news from the doctor yesterday. The good news is that the finger appears to be healed fully. I can now remove the splint during the day. Bad news is that I have to wear the splint at night still and also do hand therapy twice a week with a hand therapist for four weeks. The therapy will start next week. My finger is extremely stiff, so i'm looking forward to starting the therapy. During the day I will wear the splint if I am worried about hitting the finger on something...at least until the stiffness improves and the finger feels better. So still no tennis for what looks like another month probably. WilsonPlayer, good luck with your process, and if you have any more questions feel free to ask!
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
gmgpistons, I am glad to hear that the finger has healed fully. Sometimes it's hard to imagine the finger healing when you first see the tip droop downward. It is very discouraging seeing such a thing.

I wonder if the finger is stiff because it's been in a splint all these weeks and has been pretty much not bent, so the finger has to learn how to bend again or it has to do with the tendons growing back on the bone and that causes it to be stiff.

Too bad it's stiff but it's better than it hanging down and being messed up. Soon enough with surgery you'll be close to back to normal. I did research and most my findings say that being stiff is normal for this kind of injury. Most people are stiff after the splint is off. Some are not but I think 90 percent are.

Do you have any idea what they will do with your finger in therapy? What kind of exercises?

Too bad you can not play tennis for awhile. Since mine is my non-racquet hand I can play tennis but for now even tho I don't use my left to hit, I will not play tennis. Will leave it be as not to stress it out even when tossing the ball in the air for a serve or running down a ball and having my arm flop around which could stress the finger some how. I did however at the gym, went to the racquet ball court and hit some balls around, that was fun. But by no means am I going to play a set with anyone just yet.

The bad thing is that I play guitar and I can't play because I need all my fingers to play anything on the guitar that is decent.


Thanks and please let me know what the plan in therapy is.
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
Wow I wish I would have thought of the food service gloves...great idea. I got some good news and bad news from the doctor yesterday. The good news is that the finger appears to be healed fully. I can now remove the splint during the day. Bad news is that I have to wear the splint at night still and also do hand therapy twice a week with a hand therapist for four weeks. The therapy will start next week. My finger is extremely stiff, so i'm looking forward to starting the therapy. During the day I will wear the splint if I am worried about hitting the finger on something...at least until the stiffness improves and the finger feels better. So still no tennis for what looks like another month probably. WilsonPlayer, good luck with your process, and if you have any more questions feel free to ask!
Just wondering, did you start therapy yet?
 

gmgpistons

New User
Hey, i just got back from my first appointment with the hand therapist. I felt really comfortable, seemed like she really knows her stuff. The first 10 minutes or so she took all kinds of measurements, like grip strength and hand/finger flexibility measurements. Its interesting, she said you are supposed to have about 10% more grip strength in your dominant hand - I measured 75lbs with my dominant hand and 105 lbs with my non-dominant hand...meaning i have lost about 40lbs of grip strentgh. After the measurements, she went into some exercises that I need to do 4-5 times per day, followed by icing 10-15 minutes. The good news is that as i was doing some of the exercises, my finger was for sure bending and straightening back up which was a good sight. I do have to wear the splint at night still. I also have to focus on using my finger to grab things like water bottles, the steering wheel, etc. Overall things look ok, just gonna take time to get back to normal.

The hand therapist reiterated the importance of NOT BENDING the finger AT ALL during the initial 6 weeks of splinting!!!

How is your splinting going? Keep it up!
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
gmgpistons, thanks for the update on your progress. Being in this situation I can say that I am so glad to hear you are getting better. This whole mallet finger is a drag. I am getting used to the splint tho altho I would much better be well of course.

I bent my finger by accident yesterday. I took off the splint, well didn't take it off but I took the tape off and tried to adjust my finger to fit a bit better but guess what my finger sled out and my finger bent. That set me back a couple of weeks and I am back at square one again so to speak.

The splint is on very well now and I plan not on taking it off or adjusting any more.

Keep me posted on your progress as it goes. Glad to know about the therapy process that you have explained so far. Interesting to know about the dominant vs the non-dominant finger strength too.

Eventually you'll be back on the court playing tennis again.
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
gm, hope all is well in your recovery of your mallet finger. When you get a chance please update us on the second week of therapy. Thanks much.
 

gmgpistons

New User
Thats good that you are getting used to the splint. I know how that is, to be honest I could probably put it back on now and it would seem pretty normal. As far as the therapy, its been productive with noticeable improvements each visit. A lot of bending, gripping and strength exercises. I can almost produce a proper fist, just need a little more bend in the pink finger. The therapy is somewhat tortuous as there is a lot of discomfort/pain when trying to push the limits of the finger. The best part is definitely the end when I ice my whole hand for 10 minutes. My pinky finger is still swollen, but according to the therapist that is normal and could actually last several months. I do have a slight droop of the finger (about 5 degrees), but that is not getting worse and they say its not an issue unless it is 20 degrees or more. Overall it has been good getting somewhat back to normal...using both hands fully on the steering wheel, grabbing things fully, I even am able to fully grip my tennis racket, although i think it would hurt quite a bit to hit a tennis ball. The week after thanksgiving i have a check up with the doctor so i'll definitely let you know how that goes.
 

gmgpistons

New User
Hey Wilsonplayer, hope you had a good Thanksgiving too! I just returned from the doctor today and had a good checkup. The finger seems to be healed fine and the hand therapy is working properly. The doctor said I should be fine now with no splinting at all. I do have to do hand therapy twice a week for two more weeks, then once a week for two weeks after that. My finger is still a little swollen, but the doctor said it is normal for fingers and toes to take a while for the swelling to go away. My hand therapist mentioned on Monday that I should be able to golf and also try hitting some tennis balls on a wall or something. I am going to try that out later today or tomorrow and see how it feels. Hope all is well with your treatment!
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
I understand this is the reason Djokovic removed gluten from his diet.
LOL, yes, ironically it was not just any bag of flour it was high gluten flour which is good for pizza making and bread making. So yes, Djokovic is being saved from mallet finger for this very reason!

Dude you had me laughing. :shock:
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
Hey Wilsonplayer, hope you had a good Thanksgiving too! I just returned from the doctor today and had a good checkup. The finger seems to be healed fine and the hand therapy is working properly. The doctor said I should be fine now with no splinting at all. I do have to do hand therapy twice a week for two more weeks, then once a week for two weeks after that. My finger is still a little swollen, but the doctor said it is normal for fingers and toes to take a while for the swelling to go away. My hand therapist mentioned on Monday that I should be able to golf and also try hitting some tennis balls on a wall or something. I am going to try that out later today or tomorrow and see how it feels. Hope all is well with your treatment!
Was finally able to get on the computer and read your message yesterday about 4:00 because those exteme winds caused a power outage at home from Thursday morning until yesterday about 2:30. No computer, no lights, no heat because heat is gas but electricity is used to ignite the furnace. It was like being in the stone age.

Did the winds affect you much? Pasadena got hit hard and I see from your location under your avatar you are from Pasadena. I am in Monterey Park and we had been hit hard but not as hard as Pasadena. Hope you made it thru these winds okay.

Took my splint off today, been six weeks altho a few times in the process the splint fell off and the finger bent. But the other day the finger even tho in the splint felt different. Felt strong and stiff as if it would not droop if the splint was taken off. So being over 6 weeks I took it off and it was stiff and straight, no bending no drooping. The tendons grew back. It is swollen like yours but I have to exercise it to get it to bend properly and have to ice it.

Honestly, I did not go to a doctor, I just splinted it myself and taking care of it myself. Between jobs and no insurance so I figure I will have to take care of it myself. So I did do research and learned a lot and learned a lot from you too. Thanks for all the info.
 

gmgpistons

New User
hey WilsonPlayer, glad to hear your finger healed and you were able to do it avoiding doctors. Honestly, i wish I would have done more research myself too, because now I am being hit with all kinds of bills. Even with insurance it is really adding up...all for a little pinky finger!

Yes, I live in Sierra Madre and we got hit very hard with that wind storm. Luckily my little apartment is pretty well protected by other units so there was no physical damage, but we lost power and are still without it. Could be another 3-5 days because parts needed for repair are all used up locally and are being sent in from out of town. We do have heat and hot water, so that is good.

Ok, here are my tips for your recovery:
1. look online for recovery exercises for your finger and do them 4-5 times per day.
2. Ice your finger after performing the exercises
3. I would splint your finger at night while you sleep. I am still doing this and my therapist is pretty adamant about it.
4. In addition to bending exercises, make sure to do "straightening" exercises as well. This will help to make sure you finger doesnt "droop".

Hey when you get better maybe you'd want to hit sometime? Being new to the area i'm looking for guys to hit with. I was a 5.0 (really more like strong 4.5). I havent played in over two months but am going to start hitting this week hopefully. Looks like South Pasadena could be a decent place to meet up if you're interested....

Take care and good luck with the finger...let me know if you have any other questions!
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
hey WilsonPlayer, glad to hear your finger healed and you were able to do it avoiding doctors. Honestly, i wish I would have done more research myself too, because now I am being hit with all kinds of bills. Even with insurance it is really adding up...all for a little pinky finger!

Yes, I live in Sierra Madre and we got hit very hard with that wind storm. Luckily my little apartment is pretty well protected by other units so there was no physical damage, but we lost power and are still without it. Could be another 3-5 days because parts needed for repair are all used up locally and are being sent in from out of town. We do have heat and hot water, so that is good.

Ok, here are my tips for your recovery:
1. look online for recovery exercises for your finger and do them 4-5 times per day.
2. Ice your finger after performing the exercises
3. I would splint your finger at night while you sleep. I am still doing this and my therapist is pretty adamant about it.
4. In addition to bending exercises, make sure to do "straightening" exercises as well. This will help to make sure you finger doesnt "droop".

Hey when you get better maybe you'd want to hit sometime? Being new to the area i'm looking for guys to hit with. I was a 5.0 (really more like strong 4.5). I havent played in over two months but am going to start hitting this week hopefully. Looks like South Pasadena could be a decent place to meet up if you're interested....

Take care and good luck with the finger...let me know if you have any other questions!
Hey gmgpistons, definately when your finger is well enough to hit let's hit together. I only have one friend to hit for and that's been the same guy for about 20 years. My wife doesn't play much so I need more people to hit with. Not sure how good I am because I have tried to figure out what level I am thru some guidlines on determining but still not sure if I am 3.5, 4.0 or so forth. But when you are better let's meet up in South Pasadena.

Thanks for the tips on the mallet finger (no pun intended) on the therapy and such. I am gonna start using some finger exercises on Saturday. Finger is straight now but I need to let it stay in the splint a few more days just in case then I will remove it in the day then splint at night per your suggestion. Also icing as you suggest. The skin looks weird but I left the splint off in the day and put it on in the night and it's getting better and looking more normal but I am going to leave it on as noted full time, day and night until Saturday just in case.

Glad you were alright in the windy conditions. Everything was fine here, no trees down or anything, just electricity.

Thanks much and I will shoot you some questions when I think of some.
 

WilsonPlayer101

Professional
gmgpistons, how is your mallet finger and the therapy coming along? I e-mailed you thru your profile here at TT but not sure if you received it or were able to reply to it. Please let me know if you got an e-mail from me thru your TT profile and if you were able to e-mail me back. Did not receive a reply but maybe there is a problem with the e-mail thru TT. Thanks.
 
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