Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a disorder where the finger is painful when bent or straightened. It usually affects the thumb or ring finger. When it involves the thumb, it is called “trigger thumb”. Even though it may develop in both hands, trigger finger is more common in the right hand as it is the dominant hand of most people.
The tendons are covered by protective sheath that allows them to glide smoothly as fingers bend or straightened. Trigger finger occurs when the tendon is inflamed and swollen. When this happens, the tendon cannot glide through easily and can cause the development of a small nodule.This small nodule get caught in the sheath when the affected finger or thumb is bent or straightened. When force is applied, the nodule is forced through the sheath, and a clicking or popping sound can be heard. This is usually painful.
Even though the exact cause of inflamed tendon is unclear, many factors may increase the likelihood of getting trigger finger. Diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are some common risk factors. Trigger finger is also more likely to develop in women and people over the age of 40. Tasks or activities that require forceful use of fingers and thumb may also increase your risk of developing trigger finger.
What Are The Symptoms Of Trigger Finger?
Symptoms of trigger finger may include:
- Stiffness or locking of the finger, especially after a period of inactivity, for example when you wake up in the morning.
- A tender lump at the area where the finger meets the palm.
- Finger gets stuck in a bent position and it pops straight suddenly.
- Finger cannot be bent or straightened fully.
- A clicking or popping sound when the finger is straightened or bent.
- Painful sensation when the finger is bent or straightened.
How Can Hand Therapy Provide Relief From Trigger Finger?
At Central Victorian Hand Therapy, we will assess the affected finger in order to determine the best treatment options for you. Our assessment include:
- Physical examination of the affected hand.
- Determining the activity that may trigger the condition.
- Overall hand function.
After a thorough assessment of the condition has been made, our professional hand therapist will provide a few treatment options for you. The recommended first-line treatment for trigger finger has always been nonsurgical. Therefore, you can be rest assured that we can provide you the relief from this condition without the need of complicated invasive surgeries. Your treatment options may include:
- Night splints to limit the movement of the affected finger.
- Exercises that may help decrease stiffness and increase the range of movement.
- Massage, cold or heat therapy to help the pain in the affected digit.
I Have Trigger Finger - What Should I Do?
Trigger finger is one of the most common hand pain among adults in Australia. Since it usually occurs in the later age, it may affect the quality of your retired life. Central Victorian Hand Therapy caring hand therapists have extensive experience in treating, managing and advising you on how to reduce pain caused by trigger finger, improving finger movement and eventually improve your overall quality of life.
Please note, patients who want to refer themselves are welcome to do so. You only need a referral if you are funded under Workcover, TAC, The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), or you are on a Management Plan such as the Enhanced Primary Care Plan from your doctor.