You’re going about your day when you notice that a finger or thumb isn’t working quite right. Movements are difficult or even painful, and your usual sports or work activities are a no-go. Could you be dealing with trigger finger?
Determining the answer is important: Untreated trigger finger symptoms grow progressively worse. You could even end up unable to use affected digits at all.
Board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon Dr. Stephen Fisher and the team at our offices in Cumming and Buford, Georgia, evaluate, diagnose, and treat hand conditions, including trigger finger.
If you think trigger finger may be the culprit for your symptoms, read on.
Causes of trigger finger
The tendons in your hands connect your bones and muscles, allowing for bending and other movements. Also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger (or trigger thumb) happens when tendons or other tissues around your fingers or thumb thicken or swell.
While anyone can experience trigger finger, you have a higher risk if you’re age 40-60 or regularly engage in activities that involve repetitive hand movements, like gripping a racket.
Such activities may include playing an instrument or sport, like pickleball or tennis. Gardening, farming, and mechanical work also raise your risk.
Chronic medical conditions may also fuel trigger finger. Examples include arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disease.
Trigger finger signs
Because trigger finger causes swelling, the signs tend to involve mobility problems and discomfort. Common signs include:
- Catching, locking, or snapping sensations when you use your fingers or thumb
- Difficulty bending or straightening your digits
- Pain and stiffness
- Soreness at the base of your fingers or thumb
- A swollen or tender lump in your palm
Pain associated with trigger fingers may worsen when you attempt to grasp an object. And while any finger may be affected, the ring finger and thumb are most common.
Treatment for trigger finger
Your ideal trigger finger treatment depends on factors such as your overall health and the severity of your symptoms.
Treatments we may recommend include:
- Resting your hand and avoiding certain activities
- Gentle stretching exercises
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Orthobiologics, or naturally occurring substances that enhance healing
- Splinting, to keep the affected fingers or thumb straight while you sleep
- Steroid injections
If your trigger finger symptoms don’t improve or recur with conservative measures, you may be a candidate for outpatient surgery. Trigger finger release surgery, the most common surgical option, releases the tissue blocking tendon movement.
To learn more about trigger finger or get the assessment or treatment you need, call the location nearest you or book an appointment through our website today.