If you ever have had your finger or thumb get “stuck” in a bent position and then straighten back into place with a “snap”, then you have experienced a trigger finger. Known medically as stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger fingers causing soreness (and even hand pain) at the base of the affected digit.
What Causes a Trigger Finger?
A trigger finger occurs when tendons in your thumb or finger become inflamed. The inflammation may occur from localized swelling or scarring of the sheath encompassing the tendon around the flexor tendon. The flexor tendons are responsible for pulling the affected finger or thumb inward towards your palm.
Your tendons are tough tissue bands that connect your bones and muscles. Your tendons normally glide easily and smoothly through a sheath (a tissue cover) as it has a lubricating membrane that surrounds the joint.
Prolonged irritation over time of the tendon sheath can lead to scarring, inflammation, and swelling. When the tenon because swollen or inflamed, it’s motion is impeded. And, sometimes, as a result, bending of the thumb or finger pulls the swollen intended through a narrower tendon sheath, causing it to snap or pop — a classic symptom of a trigger finger.
Who is Most at Risk for a Trigger Finger?
People have had repetitive trauma are at a higher risk of developing a trigger finger. Certain activities make you more prone to develop the condition. These activities include gardening activities, such as clipping or punning shrubs.
In some cases, an underlying condition is a culprit for a trigger finger. For example, having conditions that cause inflammation of the tissues of the hand, like rheumatoid arthritis increase the risk.
People who have hobbies or jobs that require repetitive activities, using gripping-like action, have an increased likelihood of developing trigger finger. People whose job requires gripping a power tool for an extended period of time are prone to trigger finger, for instance. Musicians and farmers, who frequently use their thumb and fingers in repetitive movements are susceptible to it. Smokers who often flip their lighters open to light their cigarette are also susceptible of developing trigger thumb.
It occurs more often in women and people who have diabetes than men and those with normal blood sugar levels.
Getting Treatment for Trigger Finger
Here at the Florida Hand Center, we can diagnose your trigger finger by an in-office physical exam. We can often treat our patients who have trigger finger successfully with cortisone injection into the area next to the affected tendon. Ice is applied several times daily after the injection. If the cortisone injection doesn’t do the trick to treat your trigger finger, we may recommend surgery known as trigger finger release.
We encourage you to come into either the Port Charlotte or Fort Myers Florida Hand Center office for a free hand screening.