At the mention of trigger finger release most people tend to imagine it has something to do with actual guns. However, “trigger finger” or “trigger thumb” is actually the common name for a hand condition technically known as stenosing tenosynovitis, which makes it hard for a person to move and extend one or more fingers.
When a person suffers from this condition they will typically feel a pop as they try to straighten the affected finger(s). After the initial pop, they will feel their finger finally straighten rapidly. These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by pain and tenderness when trying to move the affected finger(s).
If you’re wondering what exactly is the cause of trigger finger, you first need to understand some key aspects about the anatomy of the hand.
The structures that make it possible for you to move your fingers are called tendons. Tendons are tissue that connects your muscles to the bone, and when tendons pull on your bones this causes your fingers to move. The tendons that move your fingers specifically are called flexor tendons and they are attached to muscles in your forearms as well as to the bones of your fingers. Your flexor tendons pass through a small tunnel called the tendon sheath, which keeps your tendons attached to your finger bones.
The circumstances that are the cause of trigger finger result when the flexor tendon of one or more of your fingers gets inflamed or thickens and nodules start forming on it. This leads to your flexor tendons to get stuck while passing through the tendon sheath as you try to straighten your finger.
This hand problem is usually developed after an injury to the hand or forearm, of after a period of heavy hand use.
As mentioned above, the main symptom of this hand condition is the locking and popping of the affected fingers when trying to straighten them, as well as a sensation of the finger “shooting out” after the initial pop when the finger finally straightens.
Other symptoms include:
- Pain in the back of the affected knuckle
- Hand pain and swelling in the morning
- Painful clicking or locking with the movement of affected fingers
- A tender lump in the palm of the hand
- In severe cases, the affected fingers will not straighten out at all, even with help
The goal for all treatments for trigger finger is to eliminate the locking of the tendon as they pass through the tendon sheath and allow for full movement of the affected finger(s) or thumb.
The most common treatments can be divided into two categories: surgical and non-surgical.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Trigger Finger
- Wearing a splint.
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication.
- Stopping activities the induce swelling of the area.
- Steroid injections: it is always recommended that a trained physician give steroid injections.