As humans, we rely on our hands for many things, whether to hold objects, get a feel of something, or conduct daily tasks like typing and writing. Many people live life to the fullest without worrying about their hands until they develop an injury. Living life with pains in the body part that is integral in dealing with daily endeavors is incredibly inconvenient, which is why you’ll want a second opinion from a hand doctor immediately.
Two common injuries in today’s world are trigger finger and Dupuytren’s contracture due to repetitive movements in the same hand position. While these are commonly mistaken for one another, they are not the same injury. Each requires their own respective procedures from a hand surgeon to solve the issues they cause.
Tendons Are the Culprit
Both trigger finger and Dupuytren’s contracture are found on each finger’s palmar side. The tendon located in the area allows each finger to bend and is surrounded by a synovium-lined sheath. Synovium is responsible for producing fluids that assist the tendon with moving the finger smoothly.
Dupuytren’s contracture and trigger finger treatment differ in some aspects, as each affects the palmar tendon in separate ways. Here are the differences between the two and how they are treated:
Trigger Finger Treatment
Trigger finger happens when the tendon becomes inflamed, causing the sheath to develop swelling. At this point, the finger cannot glide smoothly because of the thickened tendon, which often forms a “catch” mechanism and leaves the finger in a bent position. The fluid motions disappear with a trigger finger, making it challenging to use fingers for gripping items properly or using devices and gadgets. A hand doctor will ask affected patients to make a fist and straighten the fingers out. If there are any catches in the movement, such as a curled finger or a sudden pop, they typically indicate an inflamed tendon.
Treating cases of trigger finger can be relatively easy when issues aren’t severe yet. Oral medications to reduce inflammation or injecting cortisone is helpful for milder cases of the injury. Injecting the finger is usually done up to thrice, provided that the issue isn’t resolved after the first one. While the first injection typically has a success rate of 80 percent, more severe cases will involve an operation by a hand surgeon to enlarge the sheath space. This process releases the swollen tendon, which will allow the finger to bend and naturally straighten post-operation. Surgery is quick and painless with a good dose of anesthesia. Patients are typically sent on their way home with a light activity allowance to prevent sutures from reopening.
Dupuytren’s Contracture Treatment
In Dupuytren’s contracture cases, the palmar fascia develops a thickness and causes affected fingers to contract towards the palm. Formation of small and tough knots from the finger’s base under the skin typically occurs, affecting the ring and little fingers. Fingers bending towards the palm without any force generally is a telltale sign of Dupuytren’s contracture.
This injury is more severe, which means that it isn’t treatable via conservative measures. Hand doctors typically recommend surgery because the nature of the swollen palmar fascia significantly affects how people can use their fingers. The process of surgery is usually outpatient, with anesthetics applied to remove pains. After the procedure, a splint is applied and must be worn for a week. Afterward, the sutures are removed by the third week. Therapy is also recommended to ensure that the finger’s motion range is entirely back to normal.
Despite these two injuries being different, they are still equally uncomfortable to live with on a day-to-day basis. Seeing a hand doctor is essential to get the right treatment on time and before symptoms become severe. Surgery may not always be needed, but it’s good to get a second opinion at all times.
Are you experiencing Dupuytren’s contracture or trigger finger? We offer the best treatments in Jacksonville, FL. If you are experiencing any discomfort or lack of work quality due to pain, make an appointment with us today!