Mallet finger injury

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...

Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by PeterLC » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:47 pm

Pede wrote:Thanks for this topic. Unfortunately I have a "mallet finger" now, my left hand pinky.
I had a bikeaccident for 4 weeks ago.
Lets hope it will recover completely. I decided to continue practising right hand the coming weeks.
Is it still an issue for your playing today Bertran? I hope not.
Ouch, I feel for you - also because I know how the road looks from very up close, too. Search online for "handen centrum" (as you're Dutch, too) for some extra advice on your treatment, when in doubt. I wish I did, I've felt a little bit left on my own by the medics in the longer run, and this injury really takes time. My RH-middle-finger hasn't come straight entirely, and I've lost some 10/15% of my "top speed" in arpeggios, but I'm grateful anyway being able to play quite well with it again. Anyway, you've probably read my earlier post in this thread.

Very best of luck, fingers crossed! Just not with your left pinky, right now. :wink:

Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:01 am
Location: Friesland, Holland

Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by Pede » Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:48 pm

Thank you PeterLC for the advice. I think I will contact the handencentrum because the regular orthopeed is not so interested in helping more then the minimal treatment.
Gert Petersen 2000, Spr-BRW, Felipe Conde FP17 Negro, Santos Hernandez 1932 S-BRW, Asturias 10 string s-IRW, Ramirez 1a Especial 2014, Bernabe M5 S, Bert Kwakkel Merula 1982, Baroque guitar by Martin de Witte

User avatar
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:21 am
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by Bertran » Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:09 am


OK, this month it is my injury anniversary. :) At the other hand, I was reading that tendon needs about one year to full recover and that body continue to produce all that tiny tendon's fiber all of that time.

For me, I can only say that I still feel a very (!) little rigidity at the finger, it is sensitive when I accidentally hit something with it - so I am still careful, ...for example, I am still playing football but I don't want to be a goalkeeper or boxer anymore :)

At the previous post I said all that I have and know about treatment (from my experience) and I hope that it will be helpfull for all of you with the same problem. I have explain all my recovery process by months. Just:
  • treat this injury very seriously (at the recovery phase),
    find a hand specialist
    do all of the exercises that he suggest to you (and do it very hard)
and probably everything will be ok to you.

Finally, about playing guitar. Now, one year later, I can play a guitar without limitations, I even forget that I have mallet finger. There is only one thing that I (still) try to avoid because I feel a little pain in my joint: barre with my mallet finger. It is because that barre turn the pressure at oposite direction. But, because my mallet finger is luckily my 2th finger, barre with 2th is very rare at CG and it can be replaceable with other solutions.

So, treat your injury serioulsy and patient. Thanks all of the participants at this thread for support. I wish a good luck to all of you (with any kind of injury). :chitarrista:

Bertran II


Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by JohnPierce » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:50 am



Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by ownage » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:52 pm

Hey Bertran,

Thanks for posting your story-- I was happy to find it via Google! I've actually registered on these forums just because of this.

We have shared a lot in common in which I will elaborate. Let me first say, it makes perfect sense that the topic is discussed so thoroughly in a community for guitar musicians; after all, others who don't need that level of dexterity will most likely not have the same appreciation for this sort of issue. Like many of you others, music is my #1 passion and having the guitar being my instrument of choice the past few years, my mallet finger injury quickly became a devastating event.

On 6/13/13, I was also playing football: my friend had loft a nice high throw to me-- as the ball came down, my right hand went up to catch it and my left hand went up to also help guide it in. The issue was that my guiding hand was a bit in front and all of the ball's pounds of force ended up perfectly nailing the end of my - then fully extended - left ring finger. The ball literally bounced off the end of this one finger; (the only good news about it was that I caught the ball...)

Here are some attached images I just threw together of the finger:
In two days it will be a year of healing on my part. My parents both work in the hospital so without me coming in, they got the advice from an orthopedist to save us from doing a costly x-ray and to just splint it for 6 weeks. They said that would be what I end up doing anyway so I agreed and they brought me the splint, but I can look back now and know this was a mistake because my finger did not heal correctly (and now it's probably too late to do anything about it). Knowing how it has healed now, I'll forever kick my butt that I never went in to have it checked.

The healing phase took much longer than 6 weeks for me, but the finger had healed enough for me to take the splint off a little over 2 months later. By that point, it was still a risk to not have the splint on because the finger was very sensitive and vulnerable. This would then would lead to an accidental reinjury on 9/2/13 (last Labor Day) that most likely started me at the beginning stage of healing again. At this point, I literally cried, shedding tears primarily thinking about my guitar and how messed up I was. So there I was, wearing the splint for another 10 weeks or more.

In the process, I went through many similar self-therapies that included eventually trying the guitar and quickly finding out it would take a long time to relearn/retrain this finger. And you're right, by the way, not being able to bend your finger to the max DOES have a huge impact on guitar playing. Unfortunately for me, it seems that the healing stopped a few months ago and my range of motion is what I describe at the bottom of the image. That is current, and I truly wish I could have a happier ending to the story, like you.

Still, I'm wondering if there is hope or any light you could shed on my issue. I'm wondering a few things:

• What type of mallet finger I had (ligament tear or bony tear), and also if it could be (and should be) x-rayed to find out.
• Because the range of motion has not improved in the past months, what does this indicate? I'm quite certain my finger didn't heal correctly.
• Is there still chance to regain this lost mobility?

I just want my finger back-- hope to hear from you soon or any others that can help shed some light on this situation.

I'll optimistically end this message by recognizing that regardless of what happens, life isn't over, especially with a little inspiration:

Also search YouTube for "Black Sabbath feat. Tony Iommi: The Finger Box"
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Chief moderator
Chief moderator
Posts: 35489
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:37 pm
Location: UK

Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by GeoffB » Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:53 am

Hi Ownage, welcome to the forum. Could I ask you to introduce yourself here?

Classical Guitar Forum.

"Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it." - Steven Wright


Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by alexphyd » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:12 pm

Ok so I broke my finger almost 5 weeks ago and have it in a splint since (left ring finger).

Am I right in saying that if mobility of the pip joint is preserved (as is my case, I have a splint that only restricts the dip joint) I won't have problems when removing the splint, in going back to playing the guitar?

How long on average did those of you with a similar injury have to wait before putting your fingers on the instrument, on the assumption all was done correctly i.e. pip join mobile + only dip + dip fine after 5/6 weeks with the splint?

I will be seeing a specialist this Thursday, just to be sure (the doctors who treated me 5 weeks ago are general practitioners, although one orthopedic surgeon was around). BTW in my case there was also a small bone avulsed from the DIP joint....

Thanks for any info you may share!




Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by alexphyd » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:50 pm

It is over 3 weeks since I removed the splint.

I can play the guitar almost at the same level as before.
However, I still have a nudging pain after too much playing, AND the dip joint will still NOT bend more than 45 degrees. With all my fingers I can close the fist as far as the first "life line" in the palm (the one closest to the fingers) and even more, except with the injured finger (although this is not a problem to make a normal fist).

How long did it take those of you with a similar injury to get back the full flexibility of the dip joint?

Thanks in advance for any help/advice/info you may have!



ps: again, in my case a bony mallet finger, although the specialist told me that the anomoly is the extensor tendon seemed to continue functioning as if not damaged somehow


Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by alexphyd » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:50 am

No answer...all the mallet finger people left the forum?:(


Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by johnmock » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:30 am

Hi Alex, I'm new to the forum. I'm just about done recovering from Mallet finger (middle finger of my left hand). It's been 7 months since the injury. It's been a perfect recovery, but in my case, it took about 3-4 months after the splint was removed before I was playing professionally again. It's still a little stiff, but is at a stage now where it gets better every week.
If anybody has any questions... I know it's tough to try to find things online. I did things very carefully with a hand specialist and a smart physical therapist, and though it took awhile, it is healing very well... almost completely now.

User avatar
Posts: 11421
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by lagartija » Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:30 pm

Hello Johnmock, Welcome to Delcamp forum!
Perhaps you could take the time to introduce yourself to the forum here and get a true Delcamp welcome. To learn more about this forum and its rules, please have a look at our welcome page.

We advise members to add their location in their profile. To add your location, click on your User Control Panel (at the top left of the page), then on the "Profile" tab, and then type your town and state or country, or even just your country, into the field next to "Location:"

We hope you enjoy your time here!

When the sun shines, bask.
Classical Guitar forever!


Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by alexphyd » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:36 am

Hi John,

Thanks for your answer!
I was wondering, can you now bend your finger beyond 45 degrees? I can make a fist, but my injured finger would not bend as far as the other ones do (see my post above, or the pictures by ownage).

In my case it was the ring finger of the left hand, but it was from the start an anomalous case (as the specialist also mentioned in her report): mallet bone fracture but I could still extend without pain and problem the finger.
After 8/9 weeks from the accident I was back to playing the guitar almost normally (am 100% for guitar playing now), but I still cannot fully bend the finger.

Incidentally, as all my fingers hyper-extend (i.e. they extend up beyond the normal range, which is quite common) now my injured finger simply extends normally, which gave it some more stability on the fretboard, so it seems I now play better somehow! (not that I would like to try out this on the other fingers mind you!), although I am anyway not a professional guitarist...



Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by johnmock » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:43 am

Hi Alex,
Sounds like you were lucky :) 8 weeks is amazing! I had a splint on non-stop for 12 weeks, and am still recovering after 4-month of the splint coming off.
At this stage if I make a fist my middle finger can't tuck in all the way, but it gets better every week. It's a very slow recovery. It's important not to force it though. It will make its way back.
I did an exercise where I'd make a fist around an object... Starting with something big like a soda can, and over a 4-month period working my way down to a magic marker. I'd carry one size around for a week before going slightly smaller, etc. I bought little sections of PVC pipe for various sizes. Sounds like your much better off than I was, but still it's important to go slowly. My therapist said its ok to feel stiffness, but don't bend it to the point of feeling any pain :)


Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by alexphyd » Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:46 pm

Hi John,

Thanks for the info!
It is hard to say, as of this day I still don't know what happened inside my finger, other than the x ray showing the fracture i.e. a small bit of bone being pulled off the dorsal part of the dip joint, and a second xray 10 days after showing the same bit back in place and healing....
From what I could read, while a mallet bone is more severe, it needs less time with the splint somehow (I kept mine for 5 weeks).

I will follow your advice about pain and going easy, I have a feeling I have gone heavy on stretching my finger (although never when the pain got to being unbearable)...
I am just curious as to how long it will take for the finger to regain full movement i.e. being able to bend it all the way as the other fingers: 6 months?

Thanks again!


Re: Mallet finger injury

Post by johnmock » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:34 am

Yes, that's a good question. Right now mine isn't completely finished healing yet either, so I can't say for sure. At the rate it's going for me I think another month or two. I'm very relieved that I can play again, even though there's still some stiffness to heal.
Notice how much (or how little) your other fingers can bend at that top joint and use that as a comparison to see how much more you have to go. Then I'd suggest going slowly with something in your fist to wrap your fingers around without going too far, and gradually use smaller objects. For me at least, that's been the safest way, and it's been working. From the time I get up till the time I go to bed I have it in my hand. Remember to release the grip and straighten out you hand constantly as well... My therapist said you want to practice straightening it as much as closing it. And, as she also said, go slowly. Better to be safe and go slow :) It's hard to say how long it will take, but it's encouraging because you'll notice improvements; a chord that felt stiff to play last week suddenly feels pretty good this week...

Return to “Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists”