Early Warning Signs of Trigger Finger
Trigger finger is a very common condition. Odd things happen to our joints and our appendages as we get older. Sometimes these quirks can be ignored, and they work themselves out. But other times, it is best to take heed of what the body is trying to tell us.
Trigger finger is one such condition. Initially it may begin with stiffness of the finger in the morning. Typically it occurs in your dominant hand, with one finger involved, but sometimes multiple fingers or the thumb are affected.
Later, you will begin to notice a clicking or popping sensation when you move your finger. You may notice tenderness or a bump at the base of your palm.
As the condition progresses, the finger will pop back from a bent position, much like a trigger releasing. When the condition is at its worst, you may not be able to straighten the finger at all.
What Causes Trigger Finger?
Tendons allow the fingers to move, and attach the muscles of the hand to the bones in the hand. These tendons are covered by a protective sheath. When this sheath become irritated or inflamed, the normal gliding motion of the muscles is impeded. Sometimes a nodule or bump can form, and this protrusion can get caught on the edge of the tendon sheath. When it breaks free, the result is the popping or clicking of trigger finger as the finger straightens.
Who is at risk for Trigger Finger?
Women aged 40 to 60 are more at risk of developing this condition than men. People whose occupations or hobbies require repeated gripping are more likely to be affected, and individuals with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop trigger finger.
Treatment for Trigger Finger
Most treatment for trigger finger involves conservative methods such as resting the hands, applying cold packs and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. For more advanced problems, a corticosteroid injection may be performed, and specific occupational therapy exercises prescribed for remediation. Sometimes splinting of the finger is used, to keep the finger in the extended position at night for up to six weeks.
If the condition is severe, surgery could be required. This is typically performed in an outpatient operating room, and patients go home the same day. The surgeon makes a small incision in the palm of the hand, to cut the tendon sheath to allow the nodule to move freely. Most people can move their fingers freely following surgery, but soreness will be noticeable in the palm. Most of the recovery is complete within a few weeks, but physical therapy and exercises may be required to return the hand to full function over a period of several months.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of trigger finger, reach out to a qualified orthopedic doctor, such as Dr. Rehman, for a full and complete evaluation. The hands and fingers are delicate appendages, and it is best to consult with a doctor who specializes in this area of the body. Dr. Rehman and her team of hand therapists are the best qualified to diagnose and prescribe treatment to return your hand to full range of motion and strength. And as always, early intervention is most likely to generate the most favorable outcome.