Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger

About Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a relatively common and often quite painful condition that may make it impossible to fully straighten your fingers or thumbs. You can rely on the experts at North Point Orthopaedics to create an effective treatment strategy for trigger finger that restores pain-free movement to your hands. Schedule your evaluation today at their Munster and Crown Point, Indiana, locations. Call the nearest office or request an appointment online.  

Trigger Finger Q & A

What is trigger finger?

Also called stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger causes one or more of your fingers or thumbs to get stuck in a bent position. It typically occurs in the thumb or ring finger but may affect multiple digits on both hands.

What causes trigger finger?

Trigger finger occurs when the fibrous cords of tissue (tendons) that attach muscle to bone and control finger or thumb movement become irritated or inflamed.

Each tendon is enclosed in a protective membrane called a sheath. Your tendons normally slide easily through this tube-like structure, allowing smooth, frictionless movement. However, inflammation and swelling of the tendon sheath cause narrowing (stenosis), which can interfere with the normal gliding motion of a tendon. 

Left untreated, prolonged irritation of the affected tendon sheath can result in scarring and nodules in the tendon itself. This further restricts tendon movement through the sheath, eventually resulting in a permanently bent digit.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

Trigger finger symptoms generally develop slowly, worsen over time, and may include:

  • Stiffness and pain when bending the affected thumb or finger
  • A snapping or popping sensation when you bend or straighten the digit
  • Tenderness at the base of the affected finger or thumb
  • A swollen and tender lump in the palm

These symptoms are usually worse in the morning or after prolonged inactivity and often lessen as you flex and straighten your fingers. However, the affected digits may lock in the bent position as the tendon damage worsens. 

How do you treat trigger finger?

Depending on your symptoms, your North Point Orthopaedics provider may recommend resting from activities that can cause or worsen tendon irritation and inflammation.

You may also respond well to splinting, which straightens and holds the affected digit in place for several weeks. Gentle stretching exercises can help restore flexibility to your finger(s) or thumb(s), and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories may help with the discomfort.

For more severe symptoms that interfere with your daily routine, your hand specialist may recommend a steroid injection to relieve inflammation and restore smoother motion of the tendon through the sheath. This can reduce your symptoms for up to a year. 

If problems persist or recur, your best treatment option may be an in-office procedure (percutaneous release) or minimally invasive surgery to open the narrowed tendon sheath.

Schedule a visit at North Point Orthopaedics today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.