Have you ever heard of the term trigger finger? It’s not the most common medical condition, but if you or anyone you know has it they will tell you, it’s painful! Read this blog to understand what a trigger finger is, the symptoms and potential causes.
What Is Trigger Finger?
Trigger finger is also known as tenosynovitis and is a condition in which one of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position. You may straighten with a snap — very similar to a trigger being pulled and released. If your trigger finger is severe, your finger may become locked in a bent position for quite some time.
Trigger finger occurs when the flexor tendon becomes irritated as it slides through the tendon sheath tunnel, narrowing the space around the tendon in the finger. Thickened tendon sheath can also cause the tunnel to become smaller, closing the passage through which the tendon slides. When you try to straighten the finger, the tendon momentarily sticks at the tendon sheath mouth. A “pop” sound is usually heard as the tendon slides through the tunnel and your finger straightens.
We have often seen finger tendons breaking free from the sheath, and feel as though the finger is dislocated. Severe cases of trigger finger can occur when the finger will not straighten even with help or when more than one finger is affected at a time. Contact Alexander Orthopaedics immediately if this is your case.
Trigger Finger Symptoms
The following signs or symptoms of a trigger finger may range from mild to severe and can include:
- Finger stiffness, especially in the morning
- A popping or clicking sensation when you move your finger
- Tenderness or a bump in your palm at the base of your affected finger
- Your finger is locked in a bent position and you are unable to straighten it
Thumbs, middle or ring fingers are most commonly affected by trigger finger. More than one finger may be affected at a time and both hands can even have trigger fingers on them.
What Causes Trigger Finger?
The cause of trigger finger is scientifically unknown. Some factors are seen to put people at greater risk. If you work or have a hobby dealing with repetitive gripping actions, you may be at a higher risk for developing a trigger finger. This condition is also very common in women and anyone who also suffers from diabetes. Generally,
- Trigger fingers are more common in women than men.
- Trigger fingers may occur most frequently in people between ages 40 and 60 years old.
- Trigger fingers are common in people with certain medical conditions, like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Trigger fingers may occur after repeated activities that strain the hand or fingers.
Trigger Finger Treatment (Nonsurgical)
There is a range of treatment options for trigger finger based on the severity.
Rest- If your symptoms are mild then resting your finger may be enough to resolve the pain. Check with your doctor about a split or a neutral resting position.
Medications: Over-the-counter medications, such as anti-inflammatory medicines may be able to relieve pain. Please consult your doctor before taking any medications.
Steroid injections: Your doctor may choose to inject a corticosteroid– a more powerful anti-inflammatory medication– into your tendon sheath. Sometimes this only temporarily improves the problem. If two injections don’t provide any relief or resolve your problem then talk to your doctor about surgery.
Trigger Finger Surgery
Trigger finger is usually not a dangerous condition. However, if your trigger finger causes constant discomfort and nonsurgical options fail to provide solutions, surgery may be needed. The goal of having surgery on your trigger finger is to widen the opening of the tunnel so that the tendon can easily slide through it.
Call Alexander Orthopaedic Associates Today for More Information on Trigger Finger!
If you or someone you know has a trigger finger, please call us today. Our orthopaedic and physical therapy experts are ready to provide you solutions to your discomfort and pain.