When patients are first diagnosed with a trigger finger, they’re usually very concerned. Trigger finger causes a snapping, and sometimes pain, in the hand, and often leads to decreased movement in the finger. Most people think that this is a very uncommon condition. The truth is that is it is one of the most common conditions that hand surgeons treat.
Muscles in the forearm become tendons in the hand that eventually insert into the bone. When the muscles contract, they pull on the tendons, which subsequently move the bones across the joints. These tendons run through structures called “pulleys.” The purpose of the pulleys is to keep the tendons near the bone in order to allow more motion. Trigger finger occurs when the tendons get irritated and thickened, or if the pulleys get thickened. This can cause a snapping as the tendon moves through the pulley. Sometimes trigger finger can goe away on its own, but sometimes it doesn’t. It is even possible for the finger to get stuck in one position.
There are several treatment options have been described for trigger finger including splinting, injection therapy and surgery. Most likely on your first visit the doctor will offer you an injection. This is a steroid injection given directly into the tendon sheath that will help decrease inflammation. At first you may notice increased snapping and clicking in the finger, but eventually it should decrease. Depending on the severity of your conditionk, the results of steroid injections can be extremely beneficial. However, if these measures do not work, surgery is required. The procedure can often be done in the office with a needle, but sometimes it is necessary for the surgery to take place in the operating room under a local anesthetic. The results of this treatment are excellent, and most people recover without any evidence of any more triggering.