Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) is a condition where the fingers can get stuck in a bent position. They can also snap up straight in a way that is similar to a trigger’s pull and release mechanism.
Trigger finger can occur in one or more fingers and can cause excruciating pain. It is referred to as trigger thumb when it affects the thumb. It is more likely to appear in women than in men.
This condition can occur due to inflammation in the tendons on the fingers or the thumb. Another potential cause is repetitive finger movements over time. Using your finger forcefully can also lead to this condition. Other causes include aging and diseases such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
The symptoms can range from stiffness to tenderness in your fingers. The stiffness can be more pronounced in the morning. You can also have a popping sound in the finger when it is moved. In severe cases, the bent finger may not straighten on its own.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
There are a number of effective non-surgical treatment options available for trigger finger:
• Medicine: Dr. Morwood may start you on a course of anti-inflammatory medicines such as naproxen or ibuprofen to reduce the pain. He may recommend resting your fingers or hands until the pain disappears.
• Splint: A splint can be used to heal the affected tendons. You may be required to wear it at night or for up to at least six hours a day. It will likely be worn for a few weeks to keep the finger from bending as it heals.
• Steroid Injections: To treat the inflammation in the tendons, Dr. Morwood may use steroid injections in the treatment area. Steroids are often used to treat trigger finger, and the effects can last for up to a year. You may require one or more injections depending on your condition.
Surgical Treatment Options
If non-surgical treatments are not effective to treat trigger finger, Dr. Morwood may recommend a surgical procedure. For people with severe trigger finger, surgery may be the first recommended treatment option.
• Percutaneous Release: This involves inserting a needle in the tissues around the affected tendons. The needle helps to loosen the tissues and the tendons. The needle will be inserted right where the constriction is in the tendon. An ultrasound may be used to see the position of the needle more accurately during the procedure.
• Trigger-Finger Surgery: An incision is made where the affected finger meets the palm. Through this incision, Dr. Morwood will work on the affected tendon to remove any constrictions causing the condition. It is usually done in an operating room, but the surgery is not very extensive.
Recovery After Treatment
The post-treatment recovery time required will depend on the chosen treatment option. You may be able to move your finger a few days after the surgery, but full recovery may require a few weeks.
Scheduling a Trigger-Finger Consultation
Dr. Morwood has over 20 years’ experience as a plastic surgeon, he is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, he is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and for years he has served as either the chief or vice chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery of Monterey.
For more information about Dr. Morwood or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us here.