As its name suggests, trigger finger is a condition whereby a finger or thumb gets stuck in a bent position, as if pulling a trigger. The finger will bend, straighten, or both with a quick snapping motion.
Technically called stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger is common among individuals whose work or hobby involves repetitive gripping actions, such as farmers and musicians. What happens in trigger finger is that the tendon sheath, which covers and supports the finger tendon, becomes inflamed and puts inward pressure on the tendon. The inflammation causes the space surrounding the tendon to become narrow and too tight.
Fortunately, most cases of this condition respond well to conservative treatments. Let’s talk about some of the most popular treatments for trigger finger, and where you can go here in Metro Detroit for an efficient and accurate orthopedic evaluation and treatment that works for you.
What Can Help Treat Trigger Finger?
The most common treatments that work to alleviate trigger finger include the following:
If you experience trigger finger, the first thing you should do is to rest the affected hand. Refrain from any activities that require strong, forceful, or repetitive grasping motions.
You likely have an idea of the activity you perform that led to this condition, so stop performing that motion (if possible) until your finger or thumb starts acting normal again. For example, if you handle industrial equipment for work, avoid holding any vibrating machinery for now.
You can see an orthopedic doctor who will provide a notice to your manager or to your human resources department ordering that you have a temporary reprieve of those particular duties for medical reasons.
When oral pain relievers are not enough to quell your hand pain, or if you find that you need to continue taking them for a longer period of time than what is recommended on the label (usually a limit of 10 days of continual use), then your doctor may recommend physician-administered steroid injections. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and slow down the body’s immune system response.
Your doctor will inject this medication directly into the tendon sheath, and you should experience immediate and lasting relief. Limit your steroid treatments to once every three to four months.
Wearing a Hand Splint
Your orthopedic doctor may also advise you to wear a splint to support your hand. Expect the physician to recommend that you wear the splint every night while you sleep for up to six weeks. This will foster healing of the inflamed tendon.
Keeping your hand immobilized for too long, or not moving your fingers enough, can negatively affect blood circulation and weaken your hand muscles. As such, your doctor may recommend physical therapy for your hand. These exercises should help relieve the pain and reduce the inflammation.
Finger Tendon Surgery
If conservative treatments are no longer effective, and your finger remains in one place and is immovable, your orthopedic doctor may recommend surgery to alleviate your trigger finger. In this surgery, the doctor will likely make a small incision in the base of the affected finger and release the constricted section of the tendon sheath.
Another surgical treatment is for your orthopedic surgeon to insert a needle into the tendon sheath, and then to carefully move the needle to open up the sheath. This will allow the tendon to glide easily through the sheath, with no more constriction during finger movement.
Trigger Finger Treatment in Clinton Township, MI
Trigger finger is common among people who are in heavy-labor professions, as well as those who have arthritis, gout, or diabetes. If you’re experiencing symptoms of trigger finger or something similar, visit Movement Orthopedics in Macomb County, Southeast Michigan, for an evaluation of your hand pain and effective orthopedic treatment.
Our very own Dr. Troy Williams can diagnose and treat a wide range of hand, wrist, and elbow conditions, including trigger finger. As a board-certified hand surgeon, he can perform a comprehensive assessment and design the most appropriate treatment plan. You can trust him to help you get your hand back in good working condition again.
To schedule an appointment or if you have any questions about our practice, call us today at (586) 436-3785. You can also fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!