Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that affects the tendons in the fingers or thumb. It causes one or more fingers to get stuck in a bent position and then suddenly snap or pop straight when attempting to extend them. The name "trigger finger" comes from the snapping motion resembling the pulling and releasing of a trigger.

The primary cause of the trigger finger is the inflammation or irritation of the tendon and its surrounding sheath, which is responsible for guiding the tendon smoothly through its natural movement. When the sheath becomes inflamed or thickened, it can impede the tendon's movement, leading to the characteristic catching or locking sensation.

Common risk factors for developing trigger finger include:

  1. Repetitive hand and finger movements: Activities that involve repetitive gripping or grasping motions, such as using hand tools, playing certain musical instruments, or participating in certain sports, can increase the risk.
  2. Medical conditions: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and hypothyroidism are associated with a higher risk of developing a trigger finger.
  3. Age and gender: Trigger finger is more common in individuals over the age of 40, and women are more likely to be affected than men.
  4. Hand and wrist anatomy: Certain anatomical features may make individuals more susceptible to developing trigger fingers.

Symptoms of trigger finger may include:

  • A popping or clicking sensation when moving the affected finger.
  • Stiffness and discomfort, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
  • Pain at the base of the affected finger or thumb.
  • The finger becomes locked in a bent position, requiring manual straightening.
  • In severe cases, the finger may be locked in a bent position and unable to be straightened manually (trigger finger in the "locked" position).

Treatment options for trigger finger depend on the severity of the condition:

  1. Rest and activity modification: Avoiding activities that worsen symptoms can help reduce inflammation and irritation.
  2. Splinting: Wearing a splint to immobilize the affected finger may provide relief and allow the inflammation to subside.
  3. Corticosteroid injections: Injecting corticosteroid medication into the tendon sheath can help reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms in many cases.
  4. Hand exercises: Specific exercises can help improve finger mobility and flexibility.
  5. Surgical release: If conservative treatments are not effective or the condition is severe, a surgical procedure called a trigger finger release may be performed to widen the tendon sheath and allow the tendon to move more freely.

Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can lead to better outcomes for individuals with trigger fingers. If you suspect you have a trigger finger or are experiencing symptoms, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

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Trigger Finger