A trigger finger is defined by Cambridge Dictionary as “the finger that someone uses to point a gun.” Medically speaking a trigger finger refers to a condition where a finger locks, clicks, or catches. It is a very common hand disorder known as “stenosing tenosynovitis.”
Patients more frequently affected include females between the ages of 40-60, persons who work manually via their hands, and those with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. The thumb, ring, and long fingers are most often involved. Unlike other finger conditions that cause stiffness, it is often associated with swelling, numbness, or redness.
The tendons in the palm of the hand “flex” or pull your finger into the palm to allow for gripping and manipulation. The muscles or muscles that flex your finger are in your forearm. These muscles are connected to semi-elastic cords known as tendons. The tendons travel up through you hand and into each digit. The tendon is tethered to the finger to prevent it from bowstringing by fibrous tunnels known as “pulleys.” The first pulley is at the very base of the finger in the palm.
Some cases of trigger finger resolve spontaneously. Others can be chronic and disabling. Treatment varies with the severity and chronicity and may include observation (also known as “benign neglect”), splinting, activity modification, and the use of a topical or oral anti-inflammatory agent.
The tendon or the pulley can be mechanically altered by swelling, scarring or inflammation. When the tendon can no longer easily transit the pulley- it clicks, catches, and locks. It can be painful and interrupt normal everyday hand function.
For many cases or trigger finger an orthopedist can provide a tendon sheath injection of a locally acting, low dose corticosteroid which works in most cases after only one or two shots. Failing that the condition can be alleviated by a minor outpatient surgical procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia.
If you suffer from a painful stiff finger that may be clicking, popping, or locking- or any painful hand condition- please come in for an evaluation as many of these conditions can be successfully treated. be sure to make an appointment with us: http://robertmoriartymd.com/contact-us/ or 631-423-BONE (2663).