This condition can develop in people of all ages. Fortunately, it can be addressed with prompt and effective treatment. Read on to learn about trigger finger, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
How Does Trigger Finger Occur?
Our fingers are controlled by muscles connected to bones through tendons. Each tendon is surrounded by a sheath of fibrous tissue that keeps it close to the adjacent bones. Usually, each sheath has enough clearance to permit the respective tendon to slide freely. However, inflammation can shrink the available space and increase the friction in the area, making it harder to move the affected fingers.
With enough friction, the finger might remain locked in a bent position. This characteristic shape is similar to a finger holding a trigger, hence the name of the medical condition. You can still move and straighten the finger in most cases, but you might hear a snap and feel significant resistance. The trigger-like snap and appearance can aid a doctor in diagnosing trigger finger.
What Causes Trigger Finger?
Repetitive finger movements can increase your risk of developing trigger finger, as excessive finger use results in the continuous rubbing of the fibrous sheath against the tendons, irritating connective tissue. You have a heightened risk of this condition if your daily activities require you to maintain a firm grip or move your fingers for extended periods. For example, typists are particularly prone to trigger finger.
In addition, extended irritation of connective tissue can cause lasting damage through scarring. The tissue will then grow and increase in thickness, which will further increase friction, worsening existing symptoms.
Previous surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome can also increase the risk of trigger finger for up to six months. Consulting with your doctor regarding trigger finger prevention should help you mitigate this risk.
Certain risk factors also influence vulnerability to trigger finger. Women seem to be more prone to this condition after adjusting for other risk factors. Diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can also increase the risk, since they worsen inflammation and hamper healing. Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery and repeated gripping are also risk factors for this condition.
What Are Its Symptoms?
Since all fingers rely on fibrous sheaths for proper movement, they are all prone to trigger finger. A telltale symptom is being unable to straighten your finger after bending it. For milder cases, the finger catches momentarily before suddenly straightening.
You may also feel a clicking sensation as you bend and straighten your finger. Additionally, you may feel a tender or raised spot near the base of the finger. This area represents a nodule formed as a reaction to friction and inflammation.
The affected finger is usually stiff in the morning. In severe cases, numbness or intense pain can be experienced as the inflammation affects nearby nerves. The pain and discomfort caused by trigger finger can interfere significantly with daily activities.
Inflammation or heat is a sign that you need to see a doctor for trigger finger treatment, as these are signs of an infection.
What Are My Treatment Options?
Your doctor will initially recommend conservative treatments to treat trigger finger. Since most cases of trigger finger are due to trauma or prolonged usage, you will have to rest by avoiding extensive use of your hands. Padded gloves may be recommended for trigger finger mitigation. You may also benefit from a splint, which will keep your finger extended for several weeks and allow it to heal. Your doctor may also recommend mild stretches to help improve mobility and avert stiffness. You may take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to lessen the pain.
For advanced cases, doctors may recommend steroid injections near the inflamed sheath to reduce inflammation and swelling. Another technique is percutaneous release, where a needle is moved within the sheath to manually remove blockages. Traditional surgery, where a surgeon cuts the constriction in the finger, is also effective.
Trigger Finger Treatment in Michigan
If you are looking for a clinic to help you with your trigger finger, you’ve come to the right place! Movement Orthopedics is ready to provide you with cutting-edge orthopedic care for any and all orthopedic injuries and conditions, including trigger finger. We have two facilities in Clinton Township, Michigan, to serve you. Learn more by calling us at (586) 436-3785 or by filling out our appointment request form.