Trigger finger is a common condition that causes a finger to get locked in a bent position. The condition can make it difficult to straighten the affected finger back out and can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort. Treatment for trigger finger can vary depending on the severity of the condition. In certain cases, surgery may be recommended.
What Causes Trigger Finger?
Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, can affect any of the fingers or thumb. It may occur in one or more fingers at any one time. The condition affects the tendons, which are the strong cord-like tissues that connect muscles to bones. Usually, tendons glide through a tendon sheath, which allows for smooth, easy movements. If a tendon is swollen or develops a nodule, it cannot glide smoothly through the tendon sheath. Alternatively, the tendon sheath can become inflamed from irritation, which can create a narrower opening for the tendon to fit through, causing it to catch or get stuck.
It is not always clear what causes this condition, but it appears to develop more frequently in people whose work or hobbies involve repetitive gripping actions, such as holding tools, which can cause the tendons to become irritated. Other factors that increase the risk of developing trigger finger include being female, being between the ages of 40-60, and having certain health problems, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
What Treatment Is Best For Me?
There are a number of treatments available for trigger finger, and your doctor can advise which treatment is best for you based on the severity and duration of your symptoms.
Initially, conservative treatment methods may be explored. This includes resting the affected finger and avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms, such as repetitive gripping or grasping and prolonged use of vibrating hand-held tools.
Your doctor may recommend wearing a splint to support the affected finger and to keep it in an extended position. This can help to rest the tendon and promote healing.
Gentle stretching exercises may be recommended to help maintain mobility in the affected finger.
Hand therapy may be recommended to alleviate symptoms. It uses different methods, including manual and guided training, to restore mobility and range of motion to the affected fingers. Taping or splinting may be required, in addition to therapy, to facilitate recovery. Hand therapy can also incorporate dexterity training, building strength, injury avoidance, and more.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications may help to alleviate mild symptoms of pain, inflammation, and discomfort. Anti-inflammatory cortisone injections can help to reduce inflammation and allow the tendon to glide more freely. Sometimes, more than one injection may be required.
Trigger finger release surgery may be recommended when conservative treatments do not work successfully or if the finger is stuck in a bent position. Surgery aims to alleviate the constricted tendon sheath to allow the tendon to move freely once again. There are two main surgical options, and your doctor will help you decide which procedure is best for you. Both procedures are usually carried out under local anesthetic.
A percutaneous release procedure can usually take place in your doctor’s office. It involves carefully opening the tendon sheath with the tip of a needle to create a larger tunnel for the tendon to move through.
The alternative procedure is an outpatient surgical procedure that requires your surgeon to make a small opening on the palm side of your hand. The surgeon then makes an incision in the tendon sheath to create a larger tunnel for the tendon to fit through and enable smooth gliding.
Treatment for Trigger Finger in North Dakota
If you have symptoms of trigger finger, speak to the board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic physicians at The Bone & Joint Center. Our compassionate providers deliver comprehensive care, including a variety of state-of-the-art surgical and nonsurgical treatments, to effectively treat many orthopedic conditions like hand and wrist issues.
For more information about our orthopedic services, please call our office at (800) 424-2663. You can also schedule an appointment by calling (701) 946-7400 / (866) 900-8650. Finally, you can request an appointment online.