- Rest and Modification of Activities: In mild cases, resting the affected finger and avoiding activities that aggravate the symptoms may be sufficient. This gives the inflamed tendon a chance to heal on its own.
- Splinting: Wearing a splint or brace to immobilize the affected finger can help relieve symptoms and promote healing. This option is often used in conjunction with rest.
- Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with trigger finger. However, these medications primarily provide symptomatic relief and may not address the underlying cause.
- Finger Exercises: Gentle exercises and stretching of the affected finger or thumb may help improve flexibility and reduce stiffness. A hand therapist can provide guidance on appropriate exercises.
- Corticosteroid Injections: Injecting a corticosteroid medication into the tendon sheath can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from symptoms. This option is often effective, but the effects may wear off over time, requiring repeat injections.
- Hand Therapy: Working with a hand therapist who specializes in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation can be beneficial. They can provide exercises, recommend splints, and offer guidance on ergonomic modifications to reduce symptoms and improve function.
- Surgical Intervention: If conservative measures fail to provide relief, or if the condition is severe or persistent, surgery may be considered. The surgical procedure, known as a trigger finger release, involves widening the tendon sheath to allow for smoother tendon movement. It is typically an outpatient procedure and has a high success rate.
Facing Trigger Finger/thumb? Read below to find out more on what you can do.
Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that affects the tendons in the fingers or thumb. It causes one or more fingers to become stuck in a bent position and then snap straight, similar to pulling and releasing a trigger. This condition can be painful and may affect your ability to perform everyday tasks.
The main cause of trigger finger is the inflammation of the tendon sheath, which is responsible for smooth gliding of the tendon. This inflammation can result from repetitive or forceful hand and finger movements, prolonged gripping, certain medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, or even the natural aging process.
Treatment options for trigger finger can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Here are some common approaches:
The choice of treatment depends on various factors, including the severity of symptoms, individual preferences, and the recommendation of a healthcare professional. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider, such as a hand surgeon or a hand therapist, to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan for your specific condition.
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Hand & Wrist
Dr Ananda Vella
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS (Singapore), MRCS (Edin), MMed (Ortho), FRCSEd (Orthopaedics & Trauma)