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5 Ways Trigger Finger Can Impact Your Life

1st Feb 2024 | 0 comments

Trigger finger, medically known as stenosing tenosynovitis, occurs when the tendon sheaths of the fingers are inflamed. People often find out that they have trigger finger in the most alarming manner: their finger or thumb gets stuck in a bent position, and snaps back into place after some effort.

Trigger finger can have a significant impact on various aspects of your life, from daily routines to social interactions. We’re delving into five ways trigger finger can affect you and the treatment options available in Singapore.

Pain and Discomfort 

One of the most immediate effects of trigger finger is pain and discomfort. This condition causes the affected finger to become stiff, sometimes locking in a bent position before snapping straight. The pain often concentrates around the base of the finger or thumb and can vary from a mild ache to severe discomfort. 

This pain can be exacerbated by repetitive movements or when attempting to straighten the finger. The discomfort may also be more noticeable in the morning or after periods of inactivity, affecting routine tasks like gripping a toothbrush or holding a cup of tea.

Limited Range of Motion

Trigger finger significantly affects the mobility and flexibility of the affected digit, leading to a limited range of motion. This restriction is due to the inflammation of the tendon sheaths, which normally allow tendons to glide smoothly. When inflamed, these sheaths hinder the tendon’s movement, causing the finger to catch or lock.

The limitation in movement varies from slight stiffness to severe inability to straighten or bend the finger. This can be particularly noticeable during activities that require full extension or flexion of the finger. For instance, reaching into your pocket, clasping your hands, or making a fist can become unexpectedly challenging tasks.

The impact on the range of motion can also be cyclical. The pain and stiffness may lead to less use of the finger, which in turn can cause the joint to become even more stiff and the muscles to weaken over time. This can create a frustrating cycle of reduced use and increased limitation.

The limited range of motion caused by trigger finger can have a profound impact on everyday activities, occupational tasks, and overall hand functionality. This reduction in movement can affect both simple and complex tasks, leading to frustration and a significant impact on quality of life.

Impact on Work 

For those whose jobs involve manual labor or repetitive hand movements, trigger finger can be particularly debilitating. Occupations like construction, assembly line work, or even office jobs that involve extensive typing can exacerbate the condition. The inability to perform these tasks efficiently can lead to decreased productivity, increased errors, or even time off work. For professionals such as musicians or surgeons, where precise finger movement is crucial, trigger finger can be career-impacting.

Impact on Leisure Activities

Leisure activities and hobbies often provide a source of joy and relaxation, but trigger finger can impede these pleasures. 

For those who enjoy sports, trigger finger can be particularly limiting. Sports that require gripping, such as golf, tennis, or cycling, can become difficult as the grip strength is compromised and the pain is aggravated by the repetitive motion. Similarly, gym enthusiasts may find weightlifting or using certain gym equipment challenging, as these activities put stress on the fingers.

Musicians are particularly impacted by trigger finger. Playing musical instruments, whether it’s a stringed instrument like a guitar or a keyboard instrument like a piano, demands both dexterity and control. The condition can impair the ability to play certain notes or chords, impacting both practice and performance. For professional musicians, this can have significant career implications.

Even leisure activities that seem less physically demanding, like reading or gaming, can be affected. Holding a book, turning pages, or using gaming controllers can be challenging when one or more fingers are stiff or painful.

All these limitations can lead to a decrease in overall quality of life, as hobbies and leisure activities play a significant role in mental well-being.

Social Impact 

Trigger finger can also have an impact on the social lives of those who suffer from it. The pain and difficulty in performing everyday tasks can make individuals reluctant to engage in social activities, especially those that might highlight their condition. This can lead to social withdrawal and feelings of isolation. 

Additionally, the visible nature of the condition, especially in severe cases where the finger remains bent, can lead to self-consciousness and impact one’s confidence in social settings.

Trigger Finger Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are various treatment options available for trigger finger. These range from conservative measures to surgical interventions. Non-surgical treatments include: resting the finger

  • using a splint to keep the finger in an extended position
  • anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling
  • physical therapy 

If conservative treatments are not effective, surgery might be recommended. The surgical procedure, known as trigger finger release, involves cutting the affected tendon sheath to allow the tendon to move freely again. This procedure is typically successful and can provide a permanent solution to the problem.

Trigger finger treatment in Singapore

Trigger finger can take joy away from even the simplest acts in our lives. At Spire Orthopaedic Centre, we are experienced in a variety of treatments, from non-invasive therapies to trigger finger operation. 

If you need help with managing your trigger finger condition, contact us now!