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What You Should Know About Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a strange yet painful sensation: your finger gets stuck in the “bent” position. Clinically known as stenosing tenosynovitis, Trigger Finger affects the tendons that make it possible for your fingers to move smoothly when you bend or straighten them. Once the finger freezes or locks into the bent position, straightening it out can be difficult and even painful. If you have experienced it, you know firsthand that Trigger Finger is a serious condition, and one that requires a visit to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of hand issues, without delay.

Why does this happen?

Inflammation or swelling in the tendons of your hand and fingers are the leading culprits of Trigger Finger. Sometimes, a small bump or nodule forms on the affected tendon. This typically happens as a result of:

  • Activity that involves gripping or repetitive hand movements like typing, gardening, tennis, or playing musical instruments, which can strain the tendons in your fingers
  • Chronic health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, thyroid disease or gout
  • Aging; the condition is more common in individuals between 40 and 60 years old.

Is it treatable?

The short answer is – yes!

Typically, non-surgical treatments are attempted first with focused on relieving pain and restoring movement gradually. Many hand specialists ultimately recommend steroid injections to reduce inflammation, manage pain, and restore normal movement of the finger.

Surgery is usually recommended as a last resort when a patient with Trigger Finger is continuing to have problems after they have tried the conservative treatment listed above. Surgery may also be needed when a finger is stuck in a bent position and cannot be straightened.

The hand and wrist specialists at Beebe are highly skilled in performing an outpatient surgical procedure called Trigger Finger Release. Most patients experience immediate pain relief and are able to move normally, quickly after the procedure.

The bottom line: Trigger Finger will not heal by itself. It's important to seek medical treatment from an experienced hand specialist before the condition progresses, becomes more severe, and impacts your quality of life.

Talk to your primary care provider today about a possible referral. Visit our Orthopaedics Service Page to learn more.