To compare the results of early and delayed extension orthosis fabrication in closed tendinous mallet injuries.

Between March 1992 and May 2011, 45 patients with isolated closed tendinous mallet finger injuries were treated with orthosis fabrication. The patients were classified into 2 different groups based on their date of presentation. Group 1 consisted of 28 patients who presented within 2 weeks of sustaining the trauma, and group 2 consisted of 17 patients who received treatment beginning between 2 and 4 weeks after sustaining the trauma. During the final assessments, the patients were assessed clinically using the Crawford classification scale and satisfaction ratings.

The mean delay between initial injury and presentation to our center was 3 days (range, 1-14 d) in group 1 and 19 days (range, 15-30 d) in group 2. There were no significant differences between the groups regarding their ages, initial extension lag, and arc of flexion. According to the Crawford classification criteria, 72% of the patients in group 1 had excellent results, and 59% of the patients in group 2 had excellent results. There was no significant difference between the groups.

The treatment results of patients with different presentation times have been reported for heterogeneous groups of osseous and nonosseous mallet finger injuries. Our results suggest that conservative management of tendinous mallet finger injuries that have been neglected for 2 to 4 weeks can be treated as well as those injuries in patients presenting within the first 2 weeks of injury with low long-term complication rates.

Therapeutic III.