Trying to understand the Trigger finger and what causes it, along with its risk factor, symptoms, and treatment.
The trigger finger is a condition where an individual's finger or thumb feels pain, gets stiff, bends into a bent position or straightens up with a snap sound as if you were pulling and releasing a trigger.
In most cases, you'll see the ring finger and the thumb being affected by it, but there are chances of it happening to other fingers. Trigger finger or 'Stenosing Tenosynovitis' is among the Top 5 causes of disability in the hand. When it affects your thumb, it's known as trigger thumb.
Usually, the cause of the trigger finger is not an injury, but an especially grabbing activity can lead to these symptoms following heavy or vast hand use.
- Stiffness in the fingers, mostly in the morning.
- Prolonged soreness at the bottom of your thumb or any other finger.
- Clicking, snapping or popping sound whenever there's movement in the finger.
- A sensation of pain whenever you try to uncurl or straighten your finger.
- The palm of the affected finger may be tender or may have a bump (nodule)
You can develop a trigger finger if you don't get it treated. Depending on the severity, a bent thumb, finger, or both may be locked in a straight or bent position. It is also possible that an advanced case of trigger finger will prevent you from uncurling your finger without using the other hand.
Causes of trigger finger:
- People with diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are prone to getting Trigger fingers.
- Forceful use of the thumb and finger can cause this condition.
- The trigger finger occurs when the tendon sheath of an infected finger becomes inflamed and irritated.
- It frequently occurs with other hand disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, de Quervain's tenosynovitis, and Dupuytren contracture.
- Chronic irritation and resulting microtrauma to the tendon sheath result in scarring and thickening, which affect the tendon's movement.
- The age group of people around 40- 60
- If you are a woman, you are at a higher risk of getting it,
- Activities that require repetitive hand movement and prolonged gripping are more likely to cause trigger fingers.
- Individuals with diabetes, tuberculosis, hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis
Musicians, farmers, and industrial workers are the most affected by this condition.
How can a doctor diagnose a trigger finger?
The doctor will diagnose a trigger finger by talking and questioning your symptoms and examining your hand.
The doctor will search for:
- Swelling or tenderness near the base of your finger.
- Triggers that your fingers show while bending or keeping them straight.
Treatments available for trigger thumb or finger:
The treatment differs in severity and time.
Drugs like ibuprofen, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and naproxen work on reducing pain but not swelling.
The best remedy is to give rest to your finger. Avoid any activity that would require you to do grasping. Apply a cold compressor to your swelling. Dipping your affected finger in warm water can help the tendons relax.
Including gentle exercise that helps in allowing your fingers to stretch can help in strengthening the muscles and
Some other procedures:
It will be used on the affected finger near the tendon sheath to reduce inflammation and allow the sheath free movement. It is less effective in people with diabetes.
The trigger finger splint allows the finger to move without hurting the affected area. It's better to wear the splint at night to cause less movement.
When the above treatments don't work on your trigger finger, the doctor may suggest opting for surgery. The surgeon will make a small slit near the base of your affected finger to release the pulley and cut open the tightened section of the tendon sheath. The surgery is done in an operation theatre.
Few exercises that would help with trigger finger:
- Finger lift
- Rubber band stretch
- Finger thumb stretch
- Tennis ball exercise
- Fingers to palm stretch
- Finger stretch
You can even massage the affected area and exercise for better blood circulation.
You can search for many more physiotherapy exercises on https://www.comfortmypain.com/ and shop for splints from Vissco like Frog finger splint, Finger splint baseball, or buy according to your doctor's prescription.