What is "Trigger Finger"?
"Trigger finger" or "Trigger thumb" is the common term for Stenosing Tenosynovitis. This condition involves the pulleys and tendons in the hand, which bend the fingers. Trigger Finger occurs when inflammation and swelling causing the finger becomes "stuck" or "locked" and it is hard to straighten or bend.
What Causes Trigger Finger?
The causes for this condition are not always clear. Some trigger fingers are associated with medical conditions, such as:
Local trauma to the palm/base of the finger may also be a factor on occasion, but in most cases there is not a clear cause.
Signs and Symptoms of Trigger Finger
Trigger finger/thumb may cause you to feel discomfort at the base of your finger or thumb, where they join the palm. The area is often tender to pressure. Sometimes a nodule may be found in this area. When the finger begins to trigger or lock, many people assume the problem is at the middle knuckle of the finger or the tip knuckle of the thumb, since the tendon that is sticking is the one that moves these joints.
Trigger Finger Treatment
Eliminating the catching or locking to allow full movement of the finger or thumb without discomfort, is the goal of treatment in trigger finger/thumb. Swelling around the flexor tendon and tendon sheath must be reduced to allow smooth gliding of the tendon. Your doctor may advise you to wear a splint or take an oral anti-inflammatory medication, which may sometimes help. Treatment may also include changing your activities to reduce swelling.
Often effective in relieving the trigger finger/thumb, is an injection of steroid into the area around the tendon and pulley. If non-surgical forms of treatment do not relieve the symptoms, surgery may be recommended. This kind of surgery is performed as an outpatient, usually with simple, local anesthesia. The goal of surgery is to open the pulley at the base of the finger so that the tendon can glide more freely. Active motion of the finger generally begins immediately after surgery. Normal use of the hand can usually be resumed once comfort permits. Some patients may feel tenderness, discomfort, and swelling around the area of their surgery longer than others. Occasionally, hand therapy is required after surgery to regain better use.
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For more information about simple, safe, and effective treatments for "Trigger Finger" or any other conditions of the hands or upper extremities, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sagini by calling 239-337-2003.