Trigger finger or “stenosing tenosynovitis” is a condition that causes pain, stiffness and a sensation of locking and catching when you bend and straighten your finger. It can occur in any finger of the hand but the ring finger and thumb are mostly affected. If the thumb is involved, then it is named as “trigger thumb”.
It can affect any finger and more than one finger may be affected at a time. Even both hands can be involved in some cases. Triggering is usually prominent in the morning.
Trigger finger occurs when the space within the sheath that surrounds the tendon becomes narrows, due to inflammation of the tendon. This interferes with the normal gliding motion of the tendon through the sheath. If trigger finger is severe, it makes the finger locked in a bent position. Sometimes the patient use his other hand to straighten the finger. People who works with continuous gripping actions are most likely develops trigger finger, or forceful use of the fingers and thumb.
Signs and symptoms may be progressive as the disease become worsen from mild to severe. It includes;
- Finger stiffness, particularly in the morning.
- Clicking sensation with movement of finger.
- Tenderness or a nodule at the base of affected finger in the palm.
- Pain with bending and straightening up of the finger.
- Finger locked in a bent position in severe condition, which is then unable to straighten.
- AGE: Usually occur between ages 40 and 60.
- GENDER: More common in women than men.
- HEALTH CONDITION: Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout patients are very prone to trigger finger.
- OCCUPATION: Common in workers with prolonged gripping e industrial workers.
- RELATION WITH CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: Trigger finger may be a complication associated with surgery for carpal tunnel, especially within the first six months after surgery.
Depending the condition of severity, it may treated non-surgically. Best options are;
- NSAIDs i.e ibuprofen & naproxen
- Muscle relaxants
- Steroid injections
- Various exercises
- Use of splint
- Applying heat or ice to reduce swelling
- Percutaneous release, through a needle inserted into the area around the affected tendon.
- Surgery, small cut at the base of finger and open the sheath around the tendon.