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Trigger Finger

What Is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger, or stenosing tenosynovitis, is caused by inflammation of the tendon in a finger. It causes the finger to become stuck in a bent position or to snap when bending or straightening it. Trigger finger is more common in women. Individuals with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis may also be at higher risk for developing trigger finger. It can also be caused by:

  • Sudden injury to the finger

  • Repetitive hand movements or regular gripping in work or hobbies

Symptoms

Symptoms of trigger finger include:

  • Discomfort – The first sign of trigger finger is often discomfort at the base of the finger or thumb. The area may also be sensitive to touch or have a noticeable lump.

  • Pain – The finger may become painful as inflammation continues or worsens.

  • Popping - You may hear a popping noise in the finger during gripping motions.

  • Difficulty gripping – The finger may stay flexed or hesitate when trying to grip something, and it may suddenly snap closed. The same sensation may be experienced when flexing the fingers: The finger hesitates before snapping straight.

  • Bent finger or thumb – The finger or thumb may stay in a bent position and need to be manually straightened or bent.

Treatment Options

Treatment for a trigger finger (or thumb) will vary depending on the severity of your condition. Your orthopaedic specialist or hand surgeon will work closely with you to understand the extent of the inflammation and create a treatment plan that restores function to your hand and relieves your symptoms.

Treatment options may include:

  • MedicationAnti-inflammatories can help relieve swelling and pain.

  • Injections – Corticosteroid injections may be use to quickly decrease inflammation and pain.

  • Rest – Your provider will discuss resting the finger and avoiding activities that require you to grip. You may need to also modify your daily activities to allow inflammation to subside.

  • Stretching – Gentle finger stretches can help restore function, reduce inflammation and improve mobility in the finger or thumb.

  • Surgery – If conservative treatments do not help heal your injury or relieve your pain, your provider will discuss surgery or minimally invasive approaches. Options include:

    • Percutaneous release – A needle is inserted into the tissue around the inflamed tendon to break apart what’s blocking the finger or thumb to bend or straighten.

    • Open surgery – Your surgeon will cut the sheath that covers the tendon and is blocking smooth movement of the finger or thumb.

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If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of trigger finger, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

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