Trigger finger is a painful osteoarthritic condition that causes the fingers or thumbs to get locked in position when bent. If it is the thumb that is affected, it is called trigger thumb.
Inflammation of tendons in the finger cause trigger finger. When a tendon gets inflamed or swollen, its passage through the tissue or sheath becomes difficult, causing the tendon to catch and cause a popping feeling.
Trigger finger is treatable and does not require much time to heal. The first kind of treatment involves resting the finger. In the next step, a splint is put on the hand to prevent the joint from moving. If these methods do not work, you will have to come in for surgery.
The surgical procedure is carried out to widen the tissue tunnel through which the tendon passes when folding the finger. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the hand being operated on. There are two types of surgeries: percutaneous surgery and open surgery.
Open Surgery – A small incision is made in the palm along one of the natural creases. The tendon sheath tunnel is then cut to widen it, giving the tendon more room to pass through the sheath, so the fingers will not get locked in position anymore. To finish the procedure, the incision is stitched up.
Percutaneous Surgery – In this type of surgery, no incisions or cuts are made. Instead, the surgery is done through the skin. A needle is inserted into the base of the affected finger. It is then made to cut through the ligament to reach the tendon.
Because important nerves and arteries lie near the tendon sheath, a percutaneous surgery comes with a higher potential for complications. It may also be less effective than open surgery.
It is possible to move your fingers immediately after the surgery. There may be some soreness in the palm because of the incision, and there may be some swelling as well. This can be avoided by lifting your hand frequently above the heart level.
Complete recovery usually takes only a few weeks. Stiffness will completely go away in a few months. In rare cases, physical therapy and finger exercises may be needed to get the finger back to full functionality.
Depending on the nature of your work, you can get back to your job immediately or after a couple of weeks. You can write or use the computer the very next day. You can get back to driving as soon as your finger or palm feels betted you can grip without any difficulty.
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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.
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