Get Relief for Snapping, Popping Fingers
Also called stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger causes the thumb or fingers to stick in a bent or straight position. The name comes from the way a hand looks when pulling a trigger.
Trigger finger develops from narrowing (stenosis) of the sheath covering the finger tendons, causing inflammation and swelling. Movement is difficult and painful.
You’re most at risk for developing trigger finger if your job, tasks or hobbies require repetitive motion and gripping. Diabetes, gout, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis also increase the risk for trigger finger. The condition is most common in women age 40 to 60.
What are the Symptoms of Trigger Finger?
Trigger finger may cause:
- Pain and stiffness, especially in the morning
- A painful lump in the palm
- Difficulty flexing and straightening fingers
- Snapping or popping when trying to extend fingers
- Soreness at the base of the finger
- Swelling in the palm
How is Trigger Finger Diagnosed?
Franciscan Health’s hand specialist will look for tenderness, swelling and any lump in the palm that moves as the finger moves. You will be asked to bend then straighten your finger to show any triggering.
Treating trigger finger without surgery
Non-surgical trigger finger treatment may provide some relief. Here are some ways to treat trigger finger at home:
- Rest and avoid repetitive hand motions and gripping for a few weeks
- Soak your hand in ice or warm water, especially in the morning
- Wear a splint to keep the joint from moving and reduce swelling
If your condition does not improve, your doctor may give you a steroid injection.
Trigger finger surgery and recovery
Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend surgery, also called tenolysis or trigger finger release. This outpatient procedure is performed with local anesthetic. The sheath blocking tendon movement is opened so the flexor tendon can glide more easily through it.
Your doctor will encourage you to move your finger immediately after surgery, although you will have some soreness. Elevating your hand above your heart will help reduce swelling as your incision heals. You may also have physical therapy to help with stiffness.
Trigger finger surgery recovery time is typically just a few weeks to regain full use. Some swelling and stiffness may last four to six months.