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.
Trigger Finger Treatment
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.
Trigger Finger Exercises
Stenosing Tenosynovitis or more popularly known as the “trigger finger” is a condition where one’s fingers tend to lock while accomplishing a motion and snaps out of it and in most times the snapping is painful. Choosing to treat this problem is more of a quality of life issue since trigger finger is not a life-threatening condition.
There are two ways of easing this trigger finger, namely the surgical and non-surgical treatments. Trigger finger is not a grave condition so even its surgical treatment would only take a few wounds and the operation is also outpatient, meaning that you don’t have to stay at the hospital for at least a night after the operation. If you have this condition and you don’t find it troublesome, going for non-surgical treatments such as trigger finger exercises may suffice in easing the problem significantly.
The basics of trigger finger exercises are quite like the opposite of exercising the joints of a healthy finger. Unlike strength exercises for fingers, trigger finger exercises actually require the loosening of the joints and tender exercises. The first step in performing trigger finger exercises is to place the concerned finger in warm water. Then, rotate the finger gently clockwise and counter-clockwise. This will help the finger to regain a few ranges of mobility for the time being. Until the condition is eased, avoid gripping objects as much as possible. If having to grip something is inevitable, you must find the time to relax your fingers and after some twenty minutes, perform the trigger finger exercise that was mentioned earlier.
There are cases where you don’t really have to perform trigger finger exercises after all because sometimes, attaching a splint on the affected finger during resting hours, particularly during sleep, can actually help resolve the problem.
There are also a number of passive trigger finger exercises that you can perform several times a day. By gliding the fingers of your opposite hands on the affected finger, the joints on the affected finger may actually help in loosening the joints thereby easing the problem of having trigger finger.
There are also more trigger finger exercises that can be recommended to you by qualified chiropractors after seeing the condition of your finger. The exercises that they would recommend are meant to work on the tissue to break the toxic scars in a way that is similar to friction massage.
The most important thing to remember in performing trigger finger exercises is to avoid gripping as much as possible while loosening the tendons of the finger. While these could only aid in the treatment of the problem, perform such exercises wouldn’t hurt your chances of improving the quality of your fingers’ movements. If after performing the exercises they were given for a week and you finger still keep on locking and popping, it is highly recommended that you consult a doctor once again in order to find out the proper course of treatment, which could either be steroidal or perform a surgery.
What Can You Do For Trigger Finger? Last Updated: 10/1/2018