What is trigger finger?
The muscles of the fingers and thumb each have tendons, or thin bands of tissue, that allow movement. When you bend or straighten your finger, the tendon slides through a snug tunnel, called the tendon sheath, that keeps the tendon in place. In trigger finger, the tendon becomes irritated as it slides through the tendon sheath tunnel. As it becomes more irritated, the tendon may thicken and form nodules, causing it to become stuck in the tunnel. The tendon sheath tunnel may also thicken, causing the opening to become smaller. Trigger finger is very common, and it happen more in people more who have diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. It can happen in multiple fingers and on both hands.
What are the symptoms?
- A tender lump in the palm
- Catching or popping feeling in your finger or thumb joint that is usually worse first thing in the morning
- Pain when bending or straightening your finger
- If the lump is forced through the tunnel, it may feel like your finger is dislocating
- In severe cases, the finger is locked in the bent position
What medical tests will I need?
- X-Rays: to rule out any abnormal bone structures that might be causing your symptoms.
How is it treated?
- Heat: soaking your hands in warm water can decrease swelling.
- Splinting: taping your finger to a popsicle stick keeps it from getting suck in the bent position.
- Anti-inflammatory Medicine: decreases swelling. These include naproxen, ibuprofen, and meloxicam.
- Steroid injections: anti-inflammatories injected into the tendon sheath. This can be repeated every 3 months, but is less likely to work after 2 rounds of injections.
- Surgical Release: releasing the tight tendon sheath to allow then tendon to move and not become stuck.
What do I need to know about surgery?
- You will be contacted within 2 weeks after your pre-op appointment for pricing and scheduling.
- The surgery will last less than 30 minutes and you will go home the same day.
- There are no restrictions on movement or lifting things.
- Your surgeon will make small incision in the palm under the affected finger and release the first tendon tunnel.
- The bandage over the incision should be kept clean and dry.
- At your 2 week follow up visit, the sutures and bandage will be removed, and you will begin scar massage.
- If you have limited range of motion after the surgery, you may need occupational therapy.
- If you are having symptoms in the other hand, you will be given the option to have surgery at your 4 week follow up.