Trigger Finger

1 What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger is a condition in which one of the fingers get stuck in a bent position and straighten with a snap like a trigger being pulled and released.

It is also known as stenosing tenosynovitis. In severe cases, the finger becomes locked in a bent position.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of trigger finger typically include:

  • finger stiffness,
  • popping or clicking sensation while moving the finger,
  • bump at the base of the affected finger,
  • bending of the finger and suddenly popping up straight.

Most often thumb, middle finger or ring finger are affected. In some cases, more than one finger may be affected. Triggering is more marked in the morning.  

3 Causes

Trigger finger is caused when there is inflammation of fingers and this swelling narrows the space within the sheath that surrounds the tendon in the affected finger.

This impedes the normal gliding motion of the finger.

Prolonged inflammation may leave scars or nodules that interfere with the tendon’s movement even more.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnosis of trigger finger is mostly based on physical examination of the finger. During examination your doctor asks to open and close the hand, checking for areas of pain and smoothness, looking for evidence of locking and will trying to find lumps in the palm.

In those cases, where the trigger finger is associated with the bump, the bump also moves when the finger moves which testifies the condition.

Also the doctor is likely to know complete medical history of the patient.

5 Treatment

Treatment of trigger finger depends on severity and duration of the condition. It includes:

  • Medications - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may relieve symptoms of inflammation.
  • Therapy - It is advisable to wear a splint for at least six weeks at night to keep the affected finger in extended position. The splint helps to relax the tendons and prevents bending of the affected finger.
  • Surgery - Some surgical procedures like steroid injections into the tendon sheath, percutaneous release in which a needle is inserted into the tissue around affected finger which helps to break the restriction that is blocking the motion and surgical opening of the constricted sections of the tendon.  

6 Prevention

No preventive methods exsist for trigger finger. 

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Alternative remedies for trigger finger include:

  • Ice or heat - some people experience improvement by icing the palm several times a day. Others see more benefit with warm water soaks particularly in the morning.
  • Stretching exercises-stretching exercise are recommended to maintain mobility of the fingers.
  • It is important to give rest to the fingers and avoid all kinds of gripping or grasping movements.  

8 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with trigger finger.

Certain risk factors include:

Untreated trigger finger can lead to permanent bending of the finger and interfere with daily activities.

The inflammation also leaves scars or nodules which makes the appearance of the hand disfigured.