What Is a Trigger Finger?

When a person suffers from the condition called trigger finger they might feel a pop as they try to straighten one or more fingers. After the pop, their finger will suddenly shoot straight out. Pain and tenderness may occur when trying to move the finger.

Any finger can become a trigger finger and there are different degrees of this condition: some people experience pain on the back of their knuckle, other experience pain and swelling in the morning, while some have painful clicking or locking with the movement of the finger.

What causes Trigger Finger?

 In order to better explain the cause of trigger finger, we first have to review the anatomy of the hand:

  • Tendons: tissue that connect muscles to bone. Tendons pull on bones and this is what causes some parts of the body to move, like your fingers or toes.
  • The tendons that move the fingers are called flexor tendons and they are attached to muscles in the forearm as well as the bones in our fingers.
  • These flexor tendons pass through a small tunnel called the tendon sheath, which keeps the tendons attached to the finger bones.

A trigger finger occurs when the flexor tendon of one or more fingers starts thickening and modules start forming on it, which causes the tendon to get momentarily stuck when passing through the tendon sheath as the person tries to straighten their finger.

What are the symptoms of Trigger Finger?

  •  Swelling of the affected finger.
  •  A tender lump in the palm on the hand.
  • Catching or popping in affected fingers.
  •   Pain when bending or straightening the affected finger.

These symptoms usually appear after an injury to the hand or forearm, or after a period of heavy hand use.

In severe cases of trigger finger, the affected finger(s) cannot be straightened at all, even with help.

What are the best treatment options for Trigger Finger?

Steroid Injection (non-surgical):

  •  It is always recommended that a trained physician give a steroid injection.
  • There is a 33% chance that the trigger finger will be resolved after one injection.

Surgical Release:

  • There is a 98% chance that the trigger finger will be resolved after surgery.
  • In surgery, a trained hand specialist will widen the opening of the sheath tunnel so that the flexor tendon can slide through it more easily.
  • This surgery is usually outpatient and minimally invasive as it is done through a small incision in the palm.

The physicians at Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas are trained and experienced in performing trigger finger surgical releases, as well as prescribing any other treatments as needed. Make an appointment today!

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The Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas offers diagnosis and treatment for hand, wrist, and elbow problems in Houston, using the most advanced and minimally invasive medical techniques. Our orthopedic hand specialists and hand and finger surgeons are waiting to provide you with excellent care at one of our hand care centers in River Oaks, Clear Lake, North Houston, Katy/Sugarland, or Baytown