Trigger Finger Specialist in Dallas, Texas
Trigger Finger (Stenosing Tenosynovitis)
There are over 200,000 cases of Trigger Finger reported in the United States every year. While the cause of Trigger Finger is not always clear, the prognosis is excellent. Whether the condition requires injections, surgery, or simply rest, nearly all patients diagnosed with Trigger Finger are able to make a full recovery after seeking medical attention.
Trigger Finger FAQs
What is Trigger Finger?
In our hands are tendons that attach to our thumb and finger bones. These tendons pass through a tunnel, called a tendon sheath, and connect to the muscles from our forearm. These muscles allow our fingers and thumb to straighten or extend.
Typically, the tendons glide smoothly through the tendon sheath, allowing for effortless, easy movements. However, tendons can have difficulty fitting through the tendon sheath if they are swollen or develop a nodule. When the tendon gets stuck in the tendon sheath, it can cause pain, swelling, and a sort of popping or catching feeling. The finger or thumb may also get stuck in one position and will be difficult to bend or straighten. This is what is referred to as Trigger Finger, technically labeled stenosing tenosynovitis.
Trigger Finger is a common hand condition that brings hand, finger, and top of wrist pain. It can affect any finger on your hand, including the thumb. It is also possible that more than one finger is affected at a time.
What Causes Trigger Finger?
There is no single, definitive cause of Trigger Finger, or at least none that is known. We do know, however, that the condition appears to be more common in women than it is in men and occurs mostly in individuals aged 40-60.
It is also likely that certain occupations or hobbies involving repetitive hand movement and gripping can lead to the development of Trigger Finger. This may be something like a construction job that requires the frequent handling and gripping of tools. Such movements can cause the tendons in the hand to become irritated and inflamed.
Certain medical conditions might also contribute to an individual developing stenosing tenosynovitis. It is believed that diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and gout are linked to the contraction of Trigger Finger in some way.
For those who have had carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, Trigger Finger may be one of the complications associated with that procedure. This is especially so within the first six months following the surgery. In addition, some individuals might be born with a nodule on their tendon that plays a role in the development of this condition.
What are the Symptoms of Trigger Finger?
Symptoms of Trigger Finger typically begin with pain or discomfort at the base of the thumb or finger. There may also be pain on top of hand near wrist. In addition, the palm of the hand might be painful or irritated, sometimes resulting in swelling or even a small lump or “nodule” developing.
If you experience Trigger Finger, it will be difficult to bend or straighten your fingers or thumb. It may be that the fingers catch or get stuck when you attempt to move them or, in more severe cases, become unable to move at all. The symptoms may appear worse after first waking up in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
Other symptoms may include:
- Finger stiffness
- A popping or clicking feeling when moving your finger
- Finger locking in a bent position, then suddenly pops straight
- Finger locking in a bent position that you are unable to straighten
What Happens if a Trigger Finger is Not Treated?
In many cases, Trigger Finger is more of a nuisance than it is a serious medical condition. Sometimes it will even heal itself on its own. However, it can potentially cause problems if left untreated. Without proper treatment, the affected finger (or thumb) can become permanently stuck in either a bent or straightened position. This can make carrying out simple, everyday activities rather difficult or otherwise painful.
How To Treat Trigger Finger?
For individuals with mild symptoms, rest and pain relief medications may relieve these symptoms. The doctor may recommend that you wear a splint for support and may suggest over-the-counter pain medication to reduce discomfort and swelling. In some cases, doctors may choose to inject an anti-inflammatory cortisone medication into the site.
How To Prevent Trigger Finger?
People may work to prevent Trigger Finger by avoiding certain repetitive activities that strain the fingers and palm. Sometimes, though, this may be unavoidable, as you may be in a line of work that requires constant flexion of the fingers or hands or have a previous medical condition that inevitably leads to this diagnosis. In this case that prevention is not an option, it is best that you seek immediate medical treatment after developing this condition. At SPORT, we offer both therapeutic and surgical options to repair stenosing tenosynovitis. Call our office today to schedule an appointment with our skilled physicians.
Trigger Finger Surgery
Surgery is not generally the first solution to treating stenosing tenosynovitis. However, it may come to this if several other treatments have failed and the thumb or finger remains stuck in a bent position. There are a couple surgical options available when it comes to correcting Trigger Finger.
In an outpatient based surgery, your surgeon may numb the area and make a small opening on the palm side of your hand. They will then make an incision in the tendon sheath, essentially creating a larger tunnel for the tendons to fit through and enable them to glide more easily.
In other cases, the tendon sheath can be safely opened with the tip of a needle. This will also create a larger tunnel for your tendons to move through with ease, and can be performed from the comfort of your doctor’s office.
Recovery from Trigger Finger surgery is dependent on the extent of the condition and the type of surgery performed, if any. You will be able to move your fingers or thumb immediately after surgery, but you may experience discomfort or swelling for a short period of time afterwards. Some individuals may require hand therapy to help regain movement, but most people achieve a full recovery within just a few weeks.
Dallas Trigger Finger Treatment Options
Dr. Robert Berry of Sports Physicians Orthopedics and Rehabilitation of Texas (SPORT) sees hundreds of patients with stenosing tenosynovitis. Dr. Berry, along with the rest of our SPORT doctors and physical therapists, have the skills and the experience needed to treat and correct Trigger Finger of any severity.
If you or someone you know is suffering from this condition, get in touch with the experts at SPORT Orthopedics + Rehabilitation as soon as possible to ensure you’re back in the game in no time. You can give us a call at (469) 200-2832 to schedule a consultation or feel free to fill out our online intake form.