Trigger Finger Release
Trigger finger is a health condition that causes pain, stiffness, and a locking or catching sensation when you move your finger. The most fingers that are commonly affected by trigger finger are the thumb and ring finger; however, trigger finger can occur in other fingers as well. If the thumb is the afflicted finger, then the condition is called “trigger thumb”. You might also hear trigger finger called stenosing tenosynovitis.
What causes trigger finger release?
The most common cause for trigger finger is repeatedly moving your finger or thumb. Trigger finger can also happen when the tendons in your fingers or thumbs become inflamed. In general, trigger finger release is caused by two main factors: medical conditions and forceful hand activities.
- Medical conditions. Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of developing trigger finger release. For example, some medical conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, carpal tunnel, and diabetes. Other conditions that put you more at risk are your gender, age, and medical history.
- Forceful hand activities. You are more likely to contract trigger finger release after you forcefully use your fingers and thumbs.
What are the symptoms of trigger finger release?
Symptoms of trigger finger release often start off being mild and worsen overtime. As symptoms progress your symptoms will worsen in the morning, when you try to straighten your fingers and when you try to grasp onto something. Some symptoms might include:
- A painful click or snap when you try to bend or straighten your fingers. The pain will get even worse when your finger is not moving. The pain will decrease when you start moving your finger.
- Stiffness in your fingers which is more common in the morning. If your symptoms are severe, your finger can become locked in a bent position.
- You can hear a popping or clicking noise when you move your fingers.
- Your finger is locked and you cannot straighten it.
- A sore bump at the bottom of your finger or thumb. Your doctor will call this bump or soreness a nodule.
How is trigger finger diagnosed?
In order to diagnose trigger finger, your doctor must conduct a physical examination of your hand and fingers and ask you about your symptoms. No type of X-ray or lab tests can diagnose trigger finger.
How is trigger finger treated?
After your doctor diagnoses you with trigger finger, he or she will devise a treatment plan for you. Here are some of the possible treatments that your doctor might prescribe to treat your trigger finger symptoms:
- Rest. A simple solution to help alleviate your pain is to just rest your hand. Try not to move your fingers or thumbs for a while. By doing so, you are giving your hand time to heal instead of aggravating it all day by doing certain activities that cause you pain. If there is no way you can rest your hand, try wearing padded gloves to ease the stress on your hand.
- Physical exercises. Gentle and simple exercises may help decrease the stiffness in your hand. At the same time, these exercises can help improve your range of motion.
- NSAIDs. Your doctor might suggest that you take over-the-counter drugs to help with inflammation. For example, ibuprofen and naproxen both help decrease inflammation.
- Steroid injections. If your doctor recommends that you receive a steroid injection, that means that you will be given a steroid shot into the tendon sheath. Steroid injections can decrease your symptoms for a year and sometimes even longer. In order to actually see results, you will most likely have to get two shots.
- Splints. Your doctor can give you a splint that is specifically designed to keep your fingers immobile.
- Surgery. In severe cases, and if other treatments are ineffective, your doctor might suggest surgery. There are two types of surgery: percutaneous release and trigger finger release surgery. For percutaneous release surgery, your doctor will numb the palm of your hand and insert a needle near the injured tendon. Then, your doctor will move the needle and your finger to try to loosen up the tendon. Usually, this procedure can be done in the doctor’s office. For trigger finger release surgery, also called tenolysis, your doctor will make a small incision at the base of your finger. From that incision, your doctor can open the sheath around the tendon. This type of surgery is typically done in an operating room.
Trigger finger surgery recovery time
After surgery, there are a few different ways to ensure that you have a speedy and healthy recovery. Some forms of recovery might include rest, wearing a splint, or taking anti-inflammatory drugs. If all goes well, you should recover within a few weeks of surgery. Your doctor might even suggest that you see a physical therapist to help regain your full range of motion.
Treating trigger finger at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants
Trigger finger is a painful condition that must be treated as soon as possible before your symptoms progress into something worse. At Widwest Orthopaedic Consultants, we understand that it can be frustrating to not be able to use your hands for the simplest tasks. Here, we have an amazing group of specialists and surgeons that will help you regain your strength and range of motion after suffering from trigger finger.
If you are suffering from symptoms of trigger finger release, contact us today to book an appointment!