Trigger finger treatments range from self-care at home to medical intervention. When treating a trigger finger, it is important to remember that prevention is the best place to start.
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What Causes Trigger Finger?
A trigger finger is caused by inflammation of the tendon sheath, which surrounds and protects the flexor tendons in your finger or thumb.
When these tendons become inflamed, they swell and make it difficult for them to move smoothly through their sheaths when you bend or straighten your fingers or thumbs. This can lead to pain, stiffness, swelling, and a clicking sensation in your fingers or thumb when you try to move them.
A trigger finger is a painful condition that makes your fingers or thumb catch or lock when you bend them. It can affect any finger or more than one finger at a time. You can also have it in both hands. You might hear it called stenosing tenosynovitis. When it affects your thumb, it’s called a trigger thumb.
The fingers most often affected are the ring finger and the thumb, but the condition can affect any finger. A developing trigger finger happens when the tendon that controls that finger can’t glide smoothly in the sheath that surrounds it.
How To Recognize Trigger Finger
The symptoms of the trigger finger vary depending on the severity of the condition and how long it has been left untreated. However, some common symptoms include pain when attempting to move your affected finger; swelling at the base of the affected finger; difficulty flexing your affected finger; feeling like there is something stuck inside your affected finger when you attempt to move it; locking of the affected joint while extending it; clicking sound when moving you’re affected joint; and numbness around the affected area. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment options.
How Is Trigger Finger Treated?
Treatment for the trigger finger depends on the severity of the condition. Milder cases are often treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.
If these treatments do not work, then steroid injection may be used to reduce inflammation and allow for smoother movement of the tendon through its flexor tendon sheath. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to release the affected tendon from its sheath so it can move freely without pain or restriction.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Trigger Finger
If you believe you have been diagnosed trigger finger, then it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor will likely ask about any medical conditions that may have contributed to the development of the trigger finger, such as diabetes or arthritis.
They will also examine your hand, including checking for tenderness and movement restrictions on the affected area. Based on this information, your doctor may recommend further testing, such as an X-ray or MRI scan, if needed.
Treatment options for trigger finger range from rest and anti-inflammatory medication to splinting and physical therapy exercises depending on severity. Surgery may also be recommended if other treatments fail to relieve symptoms.
Trigger finger surgery may also be recommended if other treatments don’t work or if there are signs of permanent damage due to the trigger finger. Additionally, preventative measures such as avoiding activities that strain your hands or wrists can help reduce the likelihood of developing this condition in the future.
Preventing Trigger Finger
The best way to prevent trigger finger is to practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands regularly with soap and water, avoiding contact with irritants such as harsh chemicals if possible, wearing protective gloves when working around potentially dangerous materials (such as cleaning products), and taking breaks from activities that require repetitive movement of the hands (such as typing).
Additionally, strengthening exercises can strengthen weak muscles in your hands, which may help prevent overuse injuries like trigger fingers from occurring in the first place.
Trigger finger symptoms range from mild to severe and comprise:
- Stiff fingers, especially in the morning.
- As the finger moves, there is a popping or clicking sound.
- At the base of the affected finger, there may be tenderness or a bump in the palm.
- A finger catching or locking bent position and then snapping straight.
- Bent finger locked in place.
The trigger finger may impact any finger, even the thumb. Both hands could be involved, as could more than one finger. Mornings are typically the worst for triggers.
Tendons, which are strong cords, join muscle to bone. The sheath that surrounds each tendon serves as protection. A trigger finger happens when the affected finger’s irritated and swollen tendon sheath develops. The tendon finds it more difficult to pass through the sheath.
Most of the time, there is no known cause for why this irritation and swelling started.
On the tendon, a tiny tissue tender lump may develop as a result of the ongoing irritation from the back-and-forth motion. A nodule is a term for this lump. The nodule may further hinder the tendon’s ability to glide smoothly.
The following things increase your risk of getting a trigger finger:
- Recurring grasping: Work and leisure activities that require a lot of repetitive hand motion and tight gripping can increase the risk of the trigger finger.
- Specific health issues: Those with rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes are more likely to develop trigger fingers.
- Your sex: In women, trigger fingers are more typical.
It can be more difficult to type, button a garment, or turn a lock with a trigger finger. Your capacity to hold onto tools or a steering wheel may also be impacted.
Trigger finger is a painful condition that can affect anyone at any age but is especially common among those who use their hands frequently at work or home activities. If you think you have a trigger finger, then consult with a doctor immediately so they can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan tailored specifically for you.
Additionally, taking preventive measures like stretching regularly and wearing gloves while doing activities like gardening can help reduce your risk of developing this condition! With proper care, you should be able to keep yourself safe from triggering issues down the line.