Trigger Finger: Signs and Symptoms

What to Expect From A Trigger Finger Specialist

Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition in which your finger gets locked in a bent position. Trigger finger occurs if either the tendon or the tendon sheath (the layer of synovial membrane inside the tendon, which allows it to move freely and smoothly) is inflamed. The inflammation can create a narrower opening for the tendon to fit through, rendering it unable to glide smoothly. Prolonged inflammation can result in scarring and consequently in the formation of nodules in the tendon. This leads to the inability of the finger to freely bend and straighten.

Trigger finger can develop in any of the fingers, but it usually affects the thumb, ring finger, or little finger. The exact cause of trigger finger is not clear, but it appears to develop more frequently in the dominant hand, in people whose jobs or hobbies involve repetitive hand use or gripping actions. Other factors that increase a person’s risk of developing the condition include gender, age (over 40), and certain diseases, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Signs and Symptoms of Trigger Finger

Signs and symptoms of trigger finger can vary from mild to severe and may get worse over time. These include the following:

  • Stiffness in the finger (especially in the morning)
  • A popping, clicking or snapping sensation when moving the finger
  • Tenderness and pain at the base of the affected finger
  • A nodule (bump) at the palm side of the hand, at the base of the affected finger
  • Catching or locking of the finger in a bent position, which may suddenly pop straight
  • Difficulty performing everyday tasks involving the hand/affected finger

Treatment for Trigger Finger

Trigger finger may get better with rest and avoidance of certain activities. In a majority of cases, treatment is necessary to prevent symptoms from worsening.

Treatment can vary, based on the severity and duration of symptoms, but generally includes:

  • Wearing a splint to support and rest the affected finger and promote healing
  • Gentle stretching exercises to help maintain or restore mobility
  • Hand therapy to also restore mobility and range of motion
  • Medications such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and painkillers
  • Steroid injections to reduce inflammation

Surgery, such as percutaneous trigger finger release, may be recommended when conservative treatments have not worked successfully or if the finger remains chronically stuck in a bent position. Surgery involves small incisions to expose the A1 pulley (an important structure located near the opening of the tendon sheath that provides flexor tendon alignment). The surgery aims to release the constricted tendon sheath to allow the tendon to move freely again.

Trigger Finger Treatment in Clinton Township, MI

If you have symptoms of trigger finger, visit us here at Movement Orthopedics. We have a highly skilled hand surgeon—Dr. Troy K. Williams—whom you can trust to provide you with exceptional care. He will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, and based on the results, will recommend the best course of treatment, exhausting all nonsurgical modalities first.

To find out more about the services we provide, or to book a consultation with Dr. Troy K. Williams, call our Clinton Township Office today at (586) 436-3785 alternatively, you can request an appointment online.

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