Trigger Finger

Las Vegas’ Orthopedic Hand Specialists

Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that affects the tendons in the fingers or thumb. It occurs when there is inflammation in the tendon sheath—a protective covering around the tendons that allows them to glide smoothly within their respective tunnels or sheaths as the fingers or thumb bend and straighten. In individuals with trigger finger, the affected tendon becomes irritated and swollen, causing it to catch or “trigger” as it moves through the tendon sheath.

The exact cause of trigger finger is not always clear, but it often results from repetitive hand and finger movements or activities that strain the tendons. Other factors that can contribute to the development of trigger finger include:

  • Overuse or repetitive gripping motions.
  • Pre-existing conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.
  • Inflammation of the tendon sheath due to injury or trauma.

Symptoms of trigger finger may include:

  • Finger or thumb stiffness, particularly in the morning or after periods of rest.
  • Pain or discomfort at the base of the affected finger or thumb.
  • A clicking or popping sensation when moving the finger or thumb.
  • Locking or catching of the finger or thumb in a bent position.
  • A visible lump or nodule at the base of the finger or thumb.

Diagnosing trigger finger is usually based on a physical examination by a healthcare provider. The healthcare provider will assess finger movement, any visible signs, and might ask the individual to move the affected finger or thumb to observe the triggering effect.

Treatment for trigger finger depends on the severity of the condition. Treatment options include:

  • Rest and Activity Modification: Resting the affected hand and avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms can help relieve irritation.
  • Splinting: Wearing a splint to keep the affected finger or thumb in a straight position can help reduce strain on the tendon.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications can help manage pain and inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Injecting corticosteroids into the tendon sheath can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms.
  • Hand Exercises: Gentle exercises and stretches can help improve finger flexibility and reduce stiffness.
  • Surgery: In cases where conservative treatments are not effective, a healthcare provider might recommend a surgical procedure to release the tendon sheath and alleviate the triggering.

Proper medical evaluation and treatment are important to ensure the best possible recovery and to prevent complications. If you suspect you have trigger finger or are experiencing symptoms, consulting a healthcare professional is recommended for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

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