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Trigger Finger

Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP

Orthopedic Surgery located in Houston, TX & The Greater Houston Area

If you notice that your finger seems to catch when bending or straightening rather than moving smoothly, you may have the early signs of trigger finger. The doctors at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP encourage you to come in for an evaluation when the first symptoms appear. Early treatment can help prevent this progressive condition from worsening. If you have questions about trigger finger or need to schedule an appointment, call one of the nine offices in Houston, Texas, and the greater Houston area.

Trigger Finger Q & A

What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger, or stenosing tenosynovitis, occurs when a finger bends or straightens with a snap that resembles a trigger being pulled and released. As the condition worsens, the affected finger becomes stuck in a bent position.

Trigger finger typically affects the ring finger or thumb, where it’s called trigger thumb. However, it can develop on any finger.

What causes trigger finger?

Tendons called flexor tendons to attach the muscles in your arm to the bones in your fingers. On their way from your arm to your fingers, these tendons pass through a tunnel in your palm called the tendon sheath. The sheath allows the tendons to move smoothly as they bend your fingers.

When the tendon sheath becomes inflamed and swollen, the tendons can’t glide through the tunnel, and finger movement is affected. The result is trigger finger.

Am I at risk for developing trigger finger?

You’re more likely to develop trigger finger if you engage in activities that require repetitive hand use, especially pinching or grasping. Trigger finger occurs more often in women and in people with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

When the trigger finger develops in children, it’s usually due to a growth difference in the size of the flexor tendon in relation to the tendon sheath.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

The obvious symptom is the change in finger movement, but the trigger finger may also cause:

  • Finger stiffness
  • Pain when you bend or straighten the finger
  • Popping or clicking when your finger moves
  • Tenderness in your palm at the base of the affected finger
  • Small bump in your palm at the base of the affected finger
  • Finger catches in the bent position then suddenly straightens

 

When the trigger finger goes untreated, the tendon becomes inflamed and irritated, leading to scarring and tissue thickening that may further affect finger movement.

How is the trigger finger treated?

The first line of treatment for trigger finger includes nonsurgical therapies. Your doctor at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP may recommend:

  • Resting your hand
  • Avoiding or modifying hand movement
  • Wearing a splint at night
  • Performing stretching exercises to improve motion
  • Taking over-the-counter medication to relieve pain and inflammation

 

In some cases, your doctor may inject corticosteroids into the tendon sheath. Following an injection, inflammation is significantly reduced and your symptoms may improve for up to several weeks.

You may need surgery when conservative measures don’t improve your symptoms, or your trigger finger is stuck in a bent position.

To schedule an appointment, call Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP today.