What Can You Do For Trigger Finger?
Why is it called trigger finger
The name trigger finger is preferred due to the common symptom of snapping of triggering. This occurs when the fist is relaxed and the affected finger remains curled. If enough force is applied, the trigger finger extends suddenly as if a trigger has been pulled.
Trigger Finger: Causes and Treatment
Trigger finger is a common problem that causes snapping and joint pain in the fingers’ tendons. Finger tendons are like ropes attached to the ends of your finger. When forearm muscle contractions occur, the tendons pull the fingers together into a fist. The tendons are encased in a sheath known as the flexor tendon sheath. When the muscles contract, the tendon moves through this sheath to pull at the end the finger. When this moment of the tendon within the flexor sheath is not smooth, the person experiences pain and a snapping sound.
Causes of trigger finger
The causes of trigger finger are not clear and the condition seemingly appears out of nowhere. It can occur in two or three fingers at a time or in just one finger. Trigger finger also occurs in different locations at different times. A discrepancy between the entrance to the tendon sheath and the size of the tendon is thought to be the cause of pain and snapping. This discrepancy can be brought about either by a nodular swelling or a localized infection on the tendon.
When the difference in size between the tendon and the flexor sheath becomes too pronounced, (due to the tendon getting thicker), the tendon flexor sheath will start resisting tendon movements. At first, they will manifest as a snapping sound from the affected finger when the fist is relaxed. If the discrepancy continues to worsen, then the trigger finger may become very painful and hard to straighten without help from other fingers.
Although the condition can result in very severe finger pain and prevent you from carrying out a number of activities, it is not a life-threatening condition. Treatment is therefore not mandatory. If the symptoms are not too severe, you can choose to live with it until it resolves itself. However, a number of treatments solutions are available for this condition.
If you are experiencing minimal symptoms, then you should start with the simple treatments. These include massaging the finger, hot or cold wraps, splints and anti-inflammatory drugs.
These are all noninvasive treatments whose success depends on the severity of the condition. People with mild symptoms generally need not seek treatment. On the other hand, if the finger joint pain becomes severe, then any of the above treatments can be applied.
The most common treatment used on trigger finger is a steroid (cortisone) injection into the flexor tendon sheath. This works by decreasing the swelling sufficiently for a normal mechanic to resume. In most races, the problem can be resolved with a single steroid injection. Cortisone injections have minimal side effects, but in very rare cases, they can be significant. Cortisone injection should only be administered by or under instruction from a medical professional. In very rare cases when you are likely to suffer severe side effect or when the conditions too severe, doctors normally recommend surgery as the definitive solution for trigger finger.