Our mallet research is nearing the end of the data collection phase. We have so far recruited: 35 patients for our standard mallet group; this group wear a mallet splint with the distal interphalangeal joint (DIPJ) splinted in full extension as per a ‘usual’ protocol, and 25 patients in our modified group; this group wear a splint to flex the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ) for the first few weeks in addition to the traditional mallet splint. Both groups are having their measures tracked to identify whether there is a difference in the outcomes in terms of reduced extensor lag at the DIPJ or reduced incidence of laxity at the PIPJ of either group.
Our statistical analyst, Janet Richmond from Edith Cowan University is currently crunching the numbers to give us some preliminary results about the effectiveness of both splint designs and looking at any differences that may be coming to light between the two groups.
We are hopeful to be able to recruit five more patients for the modified group, then we will cease our recruitment phase and finalise the data from all of our included patients.
Our goals are to present the outcomes of our research in the new year and to write a paper to be included in a hand therapy journal. We are hoping to contribute to the body of evidence that currently; acknowledges that tendinous mallet injuries need to be treated for eight weeks, that custom thermoplastic splints are the optimum type of splint; but that lacks evidence for the optimum splint design – which is where our study fits in.
If you or any of your patients have a tendinous mallet injury, we welcome your referral and possible inclusion in to our study, but do not delay!