Trigger Finger

What is trigger finger?

A condition that affects the tendons in the thumb or fingers is called trigger finger or stenosing tenosynovitis.  The patient’s finger may get stuck in a bent position. The condition causes limited movements of the finger. When inflammation narrows the space within the sheath, trigger finger develops. Serious condition may make the finger locked in the bent position. People who do gripping actions continuously are at high risk for developing trigger finger. Based on the severity of the condition, the doctor will decide the treatment method.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

As the condition progresses, symptoms may also progress. It can be mild or severe according to the severity of the condition. Some of the common signs and symptoms of trigger finger include:

Stiffness in the finger, especially in the morning
A clicking or popping sensation in the finger when making movements
Finger locking or catching in a bent position and suddenly straightens
Finger gets locked and cannot be straightened

More common location of trigger finger is either the thumb or the middle finger. It is also possible that, more than one finger may get affected. Visit the doctor as soon as when one experience a stiffness or catching in a finger.

What causes trigger finger?

Though it appears simple from outside, the wrist and fingers have a complex inner structure. A tendon is a fibrous cord that attach the muscle to the bone. A protective sheath surrounds the tendon. When a finger’s tendon sheath is irritated or inflamed, it causes trigger finger.

How is trigger finger diagnosed?

A series of tests are not required to diagnose trigger finger. The doctor will examine the symptoms, medical history and conduct a physical examination to analyse the condition. To check the areas of pain, the doctor will open and close the hand several times during the physical examination. To check for a lump, the doctor will feel the palm of the patient.

How is trigger finger treated?

Severity and duration are the two major factors that determine the treatment option for trigger finger. Following are the treatment options for trigger finger:

Medication- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the pain and swelling.
Therapy- Rese, ice or heat treatment.
Splint- Wearing a splint at night is recommended to rest the tendon.
Stretching Exercise- Gentle exercise steps will be suggested to maintain the mobility of the finger.

Surgery and other procedures:

If the patient has severe symptoms, the doctor may suggest any of the following treatment option:

Steroid injection- Injecting steroid in the affected finger will help to reduce the inflammation and stiffness.
Percutaneous release- During the procedure, the doctor will first numb the palm. After that, a solid needle is inserted into the tissue that surrounds the affected tendon. The constriction that blocks the motion of the tendon can break by moving the needle.
Surgery- During the surgery, the doctor opens the constricted part of the tendon sheath through and incision made near the base of the finger.

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