Trigger Finger

What is Trigger Finger? with Dr. Steven Goldberg

Trigger finger is a condition in which one of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position. Your finger may bend or straighten with a snap - like a trigger being pulled and released.

Trigger finger involves the tendons in your fingers that "flex" or bend you fingers. Trigger finger occurs when inflammation narrows the space within the sheath that surrounds the tendon.

Trigger finger can occur with repetitive gripping, pinching, or tool use involving sustained pressure to palm of hand. It is also more common in women and people who have diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of trigger finger may include stiffness of finger (especially in the morning), a popping or clicking sensation when you move your finger, tenderness or a bump in the palm of your hand at the base of your affected finger, finger "catching" in bent position and suddenly popping straight, and inability to straighten finger from bent position.

Medical providers are able to diagnose trigger finger based on patient history and physical exam of the hand. No elaborate testing is needed.

Treatment depends on severity of condition. Treatment may be more conservative and involve resting the involved finger and activity modification and/or splinting to put tendon at rest. Treatment may also include a steroid injection. If severe and unresponsive to conservative measures, surgery may be required to open the constricted section of tendon sheath.

Conservative approaches may not be appropriate for some patients depending on findings from the initial exam and/or EMG. Surgery known as a carpal tunnel release is typically performed by an orthopedic surgeon. A small incision is made at the base of the wrist to the connective tissue forming the carpal tunnel. This relieves pressure of the median nerve with the purpose of relieving compression of the median nerve and associated symptoms.

Following surgery, you may attend therapy for a few sessions to instruct on scar management techniques and exercises for your tendon/finger. Some people do not need therapy following surgery and are able to return to activity after a few days of rest.

Avoiding activities that require repetitive gripping and/or pinching or modifying activities so you are alternating hands, taking rest breaks. Avoiding prolonged pressure to palm of hand and vibration from tool use and wearing gloves with padding can be beneficial.