An Overview Of Trigger Finger

Stenosing tenosynovitis, also known as trigger finger, is a condition when the tendons of the thumb or fingers are affected. Trigger finger causes a locking or catching sensation when bending or straightening the finger or thumb. The condition is initially managed with non-surgical conservative treatments. However, in some instances, surgery may be recommended by the healthcare provider.

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Symptomatic locked digit

Besides feeling a locking sensation of the finger or thumb, a person with a trigger finger can also experience other aggravating symptoms. Extreme pain when trying to bend or extend the digit can occur. A person can also experience a stiff and sore finger or thumb. For many with the condition, a popping sound can also be heard while moving the finger or thumb.

Mending the finger

After a thorough physical examination, the healthcare provider will start by recommending conservative treatments to help with the pain and stiffness in the finger. Rest, gentle stretching exercises, wearing a splint, medications, and steroid injections are the common non-surgical treatment options. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help reduce pain and inflammation in the finger. Steroid injections are given 1-2 times, depending on the intensity of the symptoms.

When to consider surgery

Trigger finger surgery is typically reserved as the last treatment option. Patients with severe symptoms are often advised to move forward with surgery. The healthcare provider will also recommend surgery if non-surgical treatments such as rest and stretching do not work to relieve symptoms. In some special cases, the doctor may advise surgery sooner for patients with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes. Sometimes, more than 1 surgery is needed for patients, especially those with diabetes.

Healing period post-surgery

The recuperation time for every patient varies, but most people ultimately report an improvement in movement and symptoms. The doctor will advise moving the finger as soon as surgery is completed. The incision will take a few weeks to heal, but complete recovery may take up to 4-6 months. If required, the healthcare specialist may advise making an appointment with a hand therapist to support recovery.

Pulling the trigger

For many people, conservative treatments are enough to reduce the pain of a trigger finger. Surgery is typically recommended as the last option but may be considered sooner for people with severe pain or pre-existing conditions. Regardless of the approach selected, a pain-free finger is possible.

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