Has one of your fingers ever locked in place, or have you been unable to straighten it out? You may be dealing with a condition called trigger finger. This disorder can be painful and make everyday activities very difficult to complete. So what can you do to get your finger back to normal?
At Peninsula Orthopedic Associates, our goal is to get you back to normal with as little poking and prodding as possible. Our skilled team of orthopedic surgeons can give you several treatment options and tips to get rid of your trigger finger for good, so you get back to the activities you love.
Causes and symptoms of trigger finger
Trigger finger is actually a very common disorder that can affect anyone who uses their hands. This condition gets its name because your finger gets frozen in a bent forward position. It may snap back into the straight position, similar to releasing a trigger.
Although it’s not always painful, a trigger finger can really get in the way of daily activities.
A trigger finger can occur in any of your fingers or your thumb, and you can have multiple trigger fingers at one time. It’s caused by inflammation of the area around the tendon in your finger. This area is called the sheath, and it provides protection to your tendon.
When the sheath becomes inflamed, it interferes with the normal smooth motion of your finger. In severe cases, your finger can stay in the locked position, usually bent forward. Other symptoms associated with this condition can include:
- Finger stiffness in the morning
- Clicking or popping with movement
- Tender bump at the base of the finger
- Catching of your finger
You may experience some or all of these symptoms, and they may worsen over time if your trigger finger is left untreated. Several risk factors may leave you more vulnerable to getting this problem, including:
- Repetitive-use motions
- Gripping repeatedly
- Health problems like diabetes
- Previous carpal tunnel surgery
Women are also more likely to suffer from trigger fingers than men. Although this condition is annoying and makes small tasks difficult, you can get treatment and get rid of the trigger for good.
Treatment for this condition
Like many other conditions, the first line of treatment for a trigger finger is usually conservative. Our doctors may recommend that you rest your hand, and avoid anything that seems to make the condition worse. Sometimes this is enough to get the condition straightened out.
If your symptoms still persist after rest, other nonsurgical treatments may include:
- Splinting the finger at night
- Exercises and stretching
- Steroid injections
You may need to combine several of these treatments to effectively deal with trigger finger. If you’ve reached the point where you’ve needed more than one steroid injection and are still without relief, our doctors may recommend surgery to fix the problem.
Surgical management of a trigger finger is called tenolysis, or simply a trigger finger release. In this procedure, our surgeons release the pulley that’s inhibiting the proper movement of your tendon. You can usually have this surgery as an outpatient, meaning you can go home the same day.
After surgery, you’re able to move your finger so you can lessen the stiffness. You may have some soreness for a few days, but the incision heals in a few weeks. It may take several months until you fully heal and get all of your function back.
If you’re in need of treatment for a pesky trigger finger, call one of our three conveniently located offices in Daly City and Atherton, California, or book an appointment with our staff online today. You can also send a message on our website.