Trigger finger is a common condition that we see in our patients here at the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas. Trigger finger can occur in any finger or thumb, and makes it difficult to straighten the fingers—and, consequently, makes it difficult to perform simple, everyday tasks. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the causes, symptoms, and treatments for trigger finger.
First things first, it’s important to understand exactly what trigger finger is. Trigger finger is basically tendinitis of the finger. When the individual tries to extend his or her finger, it first locks, making it difficult to straighten the joint. Then, with a popping sensation, it jolts up to a straightened position. For a visual example, watch this video.
Causes of Trigger Finger
Trigger finger is the result of an inflamed flexor tendon. In a finger without this condition, the tendon slides through the tendon sheath whenever the person extends his or her finger. When the individual is affected by trigger finger, the swollen tendon gets stuck as it tries to slide through the tendon sheath, thus causing the popping sensation. Wondering if you might be prone to trigger finger? Trigger finger is seen more often in women than in men, and the large majority of those affected fall in the age category of 52–62. Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or kidney failure might make you more likely to develop trigger finger. Additionally, a job or a hobby that requires highly repetitive work might be a cause for trigger finger as well. A few examples of these might include construction, factory, or office administrative work.
Symptoms of Trigger Finger
The locking of the finger and subsequent popping are not the only symptoms of trigger finger. Those suffering from this condition may also experience stiffness in the finger and/or a bump on the palm near the base of the finger. If you find it difficult to straighten your fingers or have trouble grasping an object, set up an appointment so we can assess the situation and determine whether or not trigger finger is the cause.
Treatments for Trigger Finger
Some people take over-the-counter medication and perform daily hand exercises to help relieve the symptoms of trigger finger, but if left untreated, the tendon can rupture. This requires a two-stage tendon reconstruction and quite a bit of rehabilitation. The earlier you can get your trigger finger treated, the better. One treatment is called the Endoscopic Trigger Finger Release. During this procedure, the hand specialist widens the opening of the sheath tunnel, thus preventing the inflamed tendon from getting stuck when the patient tries to straighten the finger. This procedure is minimally invasive and has a 95% percent success rate; additionally, it does not require stitches and downtime is minimal. Another treatment for trigger finger is a steroid injection, which offers a 33% chance that the issue will be resolved after one injection.
Because no two patients are the same, we pride ourselves in creating a personalized treatment plan for each of our patients. If you’re suffering from trigger finger, or think you might be, schedule an appointment at one of our four convenient locations.