Trigger finger, medically known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a painful condition that affects the tendons. It usually affects the fourth finger and thumb as a result of repetitive use. The name “trigger finger” originates from how the affected finger may snap or “trigger” into a bent position and then suddenly straighten out, resembling pulling a trigger.
The chance of developing a trigger finger in a lifetime is between 2 and 3%, although it can rise to 10% in diabetics. This condition primarily affects the flexor tendons that allow your fingers to bend. These tendons glide through a protective sheath called the tendon sheath. When the tendon becomes inflamed or irritated, it can result in the tendon sheath narrowing and constricting around the tendon.
This then causes various symptoms, which are important to identify to prevent further injury to your finger. Let’s run through 4 main symptoms before learning more about different treatment options.
One of the hallmark symptoms of trigger finger is finger stiffness. You might notice that your affected finger becomes difficult to bend or straighten. This stiffness is often more pronounced in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
It might feel like your finger is stuck in a bent or extended position, causing discomfort and hindering your ability to perform even simple tasks.
Another telltale sign of a trigger finger is a popping or clicking sensation when you move your affected finger. This sensation is often accompanied by a noticeable “catch” as you try to extend or flex your finger.
The popping is caused by the inflamed tendon rubbing against the surrounding tissue, creating friction and resulting in the characteristic sound and sensation.
Tenderness and swelling around the base of the affected finger are common symptoms of trigger finger.
You might notice that the area feels tender to the touch, and there could also be visible swelling. The inflammation in the tendon and the surrounding sheath can lead to discomfort and swelling, further exacerbating the condition.
Pain is perhaps the most distressing symptom of trigger finger. The pain is usually centred around the finger’s base, ranging from mild discomfort to sharp, shooting pain.
The pain might worsen when you try to move the affected finger or perform gripping activities.
Over time, if left untreated, the pain can become chronic and significantly impact your hand’s functionality.
Thankfully, several effective treatment options are available for managing trigger finger, ranging from conservative approaches to more invasive interventions. At Spire Orthopaedic Centre, we can tailor the treatment plan based on the severity of your condition and your individual needs.
For mild cases of trigger finger, your doctor might recommend wearing a splint to immobilise the affected finger. Immobility can help alleviate strain on the inflamed tendon and allow it to heal.
Corticosteroid injections are a common non-surgical treatment option for trigger finger. These injections are administered directly into the affected tendon sheath, reducing inflammation and relieving pain and stiffness.
Many individuals experience significant improvement after a corticosteroid injection, although the effects might be temporary and require additional injections over time.
Physical therapy can be used for trigger finger release reducing the underlying inflammation, enhancing finger movement and preventing future recurrence. A skilled therapist can guide you through targeted exercises designed to strengthen the muscles and tendons in your hand.
Your physical therapy for trigger finger release may include the following:
In cases where conservative treatments do not yield the desired results, or if the condition is severe, surgery might be recommended.
Trigger finger release surgery involves making a small incision in the affected tendon sheath to release the constriction, allowing the tendon to move more freely. This procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis and has a high success rate in resolving trigger finger symptoms.
If you’re experiencing symptoms such as finger stiffness, popping sensations, tenderness, and pain, you might be dealing with trigger finger. You should seek medical attention to have the condition diagnosed and treated properly.
If surgical intervention becomes necessary, a trigger finger operation in Singapore is a viable and effective option to consider. Remember, a timely response to your symptoms can lead to a smoother road to recovery and a better quality of life.
Consult Spire Orthopaedic Centre for an assessment.