Trigger finger has a colorful name but having trigger finger can make it difficult to use your hand for the simplest tasks. It’s a condition in which one of the fingers or thumb of your hand is stuck in a bent position. It causes pain, stiffness, and a sensation of locking as you bend or straighten the finger. When straightening itself, the affected finger moves with a quick, snapping motion, similar to pulling and releasing the trigger of a firearm. Hence the name trigger finger.
The condition happens when the finger tendon cannot slide smoothly through the sheath in which it lies, usually due to inflammation of the sheath.
The ring finger and the thumb are the fingers most often affected, but it’s not rare for the condition to happen in the other fingers. About 2 percent of the population is at risk of developing the condition. However, the risk jumps to 10 percent for people living with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
The treatment for trigger finger depends on how severe your symptoms are, and the degree of function loss in your finger and hand.
There are several nonsurgical treatments your doctor may try at first, from rest and finger exercises to medications and steroid injections. If these treatments are not successful, your doctor may suggest surgery.
There can also be a surgery performed to improve trigger finger: Surgery is used to enlarge the sheath to free the tendon and return normal function.
Open Trigger Finger Release Surgery
This procedure, also called tenolysis, performed by an orthopedic surgeon involves making a cut in the palm of your hand. After accessing the tunnel sheath for the tendon, the surgeon will make minor cuts to widen it, allowing the tendon to easily slide through. The incision is then stitched.
The surgery is performed in a surgical room, but on an outpatient basis and commonly only requires a local anesthetic to numb your hand. The surgery usually results in a big improvement in the movement of the finger and a considerable reduction of pain and inflammation. However, it may take up to six months for swelling and stiffness to completely go away.
If you have questions about trigger finger and its treatment, contact the expert team at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder. Since 1987, they’ve diagnosed and treated a host of shoulder, arm, wrist, and elbow conditions. Highly-experienced and board-certified, their surgeons will work hard to ensure you achieve optimal results. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (410) 296-6232