Trigger Finger

Trigger finger—a term that may conjure images of sharpshooters or musicians, yet in reality, it refers to a common yet often misunderstood medical condition that can significantly impact manual dexterity and overall hand function. 

So, let’s illuminate the intricate details of this condition, providing in-depth analysis of its causes, symptoms, and a wide array of treatment options. Whether you are a healthcare professional, a patient, or simply someone interested in learning more about this condition, this guide serves as a vital resource in your quest for understanding.

Understanding the Causes and Risk Factors of Trigger Finger

To effectively manage and treat trigger finger, it is crucial to comprehend the underlying causes and risk factors associated with this condition:

  1. Causes: The primary cause of trigger finger is the inflammation of the flexor tendon sheath, which houses the tendons responsible for finger movement. When this sheath becomes inflamed and thickened, the tendons have difficulty gliding smoothly, leading to the finger becoming stuck in a bent position.
  2. Risk factors: Several factors increase the likelihood of developing trigger finger, including repetitive hand movements, gripping activities, age, gender, and specific medical conditions like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. Women and individuals over the age of 40 are more susceptible to this condition.

Identifying the Symptoms of Trigger Finger

Recognizing and addressing the symptoms early on can significantly impact the course of treatment and recovery for trigger finger:

  1. Finger stiffness: The affected finger may feel stiff, particularly in the morning.
  2. Popping or clicking sensation: The patient may experience a notable popping or clicking sensation when attempting to move the affected finger.
  3. Finger locking: In more severe cases, the finger may become entirely locked in a bent position and require manual manipulation to straighten.
  4. Tender nodule: A lump or nodule may form at the base of the finger in the palm, which can be tender upon touch.

Diagnosing Trigger Finger

A comprehensive physical examination and review of medical history are essential for an accurate diagnosis of trigger finger. During the assessment, we will evaluate your finger movement and inspect your palm for any inflammation or nodules. Imaging studies, such as X-rays or MRI scans, are typically not necessary to identify trigger finger and confirm a diagnosis.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Trigger Finger

In many cases, conservative treatment modalities can effectively reduce symptoms and improve finger mobility for patients with trigger finger:

  1. Rest: Ceasing any activities that cause pain or exacerbate symptoms is essential for alleviating inflammation and promoting recovery.
  2. Immobilization: Wearing a splint to support and immobilize the affected finger can help diminish discomfort during the healing process.
  3. Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen or naproxen, may be recommended to alleviate pain and inflammation.
  4. Finger exercises: Practicing gentle finger exercises under the guidance of a therapist may help improve mobility and functionality.
  5. Steroid injections: Corticosteroid injections administered directly into the tendon sheath can significantly reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms for some patients.

Surgical and Minimally Invasive Treatment Options for Trigger Finger

When conservative treatments fail to provide adequate relief, or if the condition is restricting hand function significantly, surgical intervention may be considered:

  1. Percutaneous trigger finger release: This minimally invasive procedure involves inserting a needle into the tissue surrounding the affected tendon, which is then carefully moved to release the constriction. This technique enables quick recovery and can often be performed using local anesthesia.
  2. Open trigger finger release surgery: In more severe cases, open surgery may be performed to release the locked tendon. During this procedure, a small incision is made in the palm to access the tendon sheath and release the constriction. Recovery time for this surgery is generally longer than that of percutaneous release.

Post-Treatment Care and Rehabilitation

After receiving treatment for trigger finger, patients typically benefit from a personalized rehabilitation plan that may include exercises, stretches, and possible occupational therapy. These measures help maximize recovery and ensure the best possible outcome for hand function and mobility.

Exploring the Root Causes of Trigger Finger

Trigger finger can cause considerable discomfort and functional limitations, but with early intervention and expert care, patients can regain their hand functionality and alleviate symptoms. 

If you are struggling with trigger finger, don’t hesitate to reach out to North Florida Hand and Wrist’s dedicated team of hand and finger doctors in Jacksonville, FL, for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our goal is to help you maintain excellent hand and wrist health throughout 2024 and beyond. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!