If one of your fingers or thumbs is starting to feel stiff and won’t bend or straighten properly, it could be trigger finger. As an expert in hand and wrist conditions, Dr. Dilhan offers effective treatments that help you get back the full use of your hand. Dilhan Abeyewardene, MD, is an orthopedic hand surgeon at the Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach who has considerable expertise in treating trigger finger and thumb. For prompt attention and effective therapy for trigger finger, call Dr. Dilhan’s office today, or book an appointment using the online tool.
Trigger finger or stenosing tenosynovitis is a painful condition that makes it difficult to bend or straighten a finger. It usually affects your ring finger but can be a problem in any finger. You can also have trigger thumb.
The condition arises when the flexor tendons that run down your arm and into your hand start catching as you bend your finger. The flexor tendon has to contract and release to enable your fingers to bend and straighten, but parts of the tendon sheath can start to thicken and become inflamed, restricting the movement of your flexor tendon.
The tendon itself can then get inflamed, too, and may develop a nodule or small lump that catches on the tendon sheath, causing pain and a feeling that the tendon is caught up.
Severe cases of trigger finger can lock your finger in the bent-over position, so you can only straighten it by using your other hand to manually unbend the affected finger.
The reason why your flexor tendon and the tendon sheath develop these problems isn’t clear, but you’re more likely to get trigger finger if you have conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.
Applying too much force when using your fingers or thumbs can also lead to trigger finger. If you’ve been using your hands for extended periods, especially when the work involves grasping or pinching movements, that can sometimes cause the condition to come on.
In many cases, trigger finger appears for no apparent reason.
You need to rest your hand and avoid anything that makes your symptoms worse. That might be all you need to do, but if you're still having problems, Dr. Dilhan can help. He uses conservative treatment approaches to start with, which are usually very effective.
Wearing a splint on the affected finger or thumb when you’re asleep keeps the digit straight, easing the pain and helping take the pressure off the tendon.
Pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medications are useful and can help you carry out the exercises Dr. Dilhan gives you. Exercising trigger fingers with gentle stretches helps prevent stiffness and keeps the fingers flexible.
If these methods aren’t reducing your symptoms, Dr. Dilhan can give you an anti-inflammatory steroid injection into the tendon sheath of the affected finger. One or two steroid injections should bring about an improvement in your symptoms. If not, you might need surgery.
The surgery for trigger finger is called trigger finger release or tenolysis. Dr. Dilhan uses minimally invasive techniques to divide the A1 pulley, which is the part of the tendon sheath that typically thickens and causes trigger finger. This makes more room for the flexor tendon and should resolve your symptoms.
The earlier you get treatment for trigger finger or thumb, the better the outcome, so call Dr. Dilhan’s office today or book an appointment online.