If one of your fingers or a thumb sometimes locks and extends only with a painful snap, you may have trigger finger. Hand specialists at Franciscan Health offer expert treatments to ease pain and restore ease of motion.
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.
Trigger finger may cause:
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.
Non-surgical trigger finger treatment may provide some relief. Here are some ways to treat trigger finger at home:
If your condition does not improve, your doctor may give you a steroid injection.
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.