A mallet finger that is up to three months old may require splinting in full extension for eight to 12 weeks. For 3 to 4 weeks after the initial splinting period, you will gradually wear the splint less often, perhaps only at night.
Patients should monitor the skin under their splint to avoid skin breakdown. If problems arise, a new or different splint may be needed. Nearby joints may be stiff after keeping the finger splinted for this length of time. Therapy and exercise may be prescribed to assist your finger regain its range of motion and to reduce joint stiffness.
Rehabilitation after surgery for mallet finger focuses mainly on keeping the other joints mobile and preventing stiffness from lack of use. If there is a large fracture fragment or the joint is out of line, surgery is done to repair the fracture using pins to hold the pieces of bone together while the injury heals.
A physical or occupational therapist may be consulted to teach you home exercises and to make sure the other joints do not become stiff. After the surgical pin has been removed, exercises may be instituted gradually to strengthen the finger and increase flexibility with the hope of returning the finger to full function.