Trigger finger is a condition affecting the tendons involved in bending the fingers which connect the muscles of the forearm to the bones of the fingers. It results in a finger bent into a “trigger” position, and is more common in people over age 40 with a history of rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.
The exact cause of trigger finger is unknown, but it involves swelling and thickening of the tendon sheath. As the sheath becomes inflamed, the tendon can no longer glide back and forth smoothly and catches with bending of the finger, causing further irritation. Eventually, the finger may become locked into place.
Treatment for trigger finger generally involves resting the affected finger, often in a splint, to allow the inflammation to go down. Anti-inflammatory medications may also be useful. If these initial therapies do not relieve your symptoms, a steroid injection into the tendon sheath may prove helpful. For those patients with rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, an outpatient surgical procedure may be necessary.