Drop finger


Diagnosis: DROP FINGER
(Ruptura traumatica tendinis musculi extensoris digitorum)

The five fingers on a hand consist of a total of 14 small, tubular finger bones (phalanges). Above the fingers (dorsal) runs the stretching tendons and below (volar) runs the flexor tendons.

  1. M. extensor indicis
  2. M. extensor digitorum


Cause: With a blow to the finger tip (soccer goalkeepers, handball and volleyball players) a rupture of the stretching tendon can occur at the fastening on the finger’s outer joint. A severing of the piece of bone where the tendon fastens often occurs at the same time.

Symptoms: Pain on top of the finger’s outer joint, which cannot be stretched completely.

Acute treatment: Click here.

Examination: Everyone with sudden powerful pains in a finger and stretching defect should be medically examined. The diagnosis is usually straight forward, but in cases with a stretching defect an x-ray examination should be performed to evaluate whether surgery is indicated.

Treatment: Bandaging of the finger with the outer part completely stretched. Usually a small fingerstall of plastic (Oakley-splint) is used. The plastic bandage must be used for at least 6 weeks. Surgery may be indicated if a larger bone severing has occurred.

Rehabilitation: Fitness training in the form of cycling and running, along with rehabilitation according to the guidelines under rehabilitation, general, can usually be commenced immediately. Once the pain is completely gone you can participate in sports activity, although handball, volleyball, basketball and similar activities should be avoided for a few additional weeks after removal of the splint.

Bandage: It will often relieve the injury if, after the bandage has been removed, the injured finger is taped to its neighbour (tape-instruction)

Complications: In the vast majority of cases the tendon rupture heals without complications. In a number of cases a small stretching defect will remain, which increases the chance of renewed injuries from handball, volleyball etc., which is why tape treatment can be indicated.