Trigger finger syndrome is a common medical condition that occurs for unknown reasons. The main symptoms are locking, catching, or popping when trying to straighten the finger. While the condition can be aggravating and decrease the ability to use the hand, it’s easily treatable. Here’s everything you need to know:

Related Anatomy

Tendons connect the small muscles of the hand and fingers to the bones. The flexor tendons of the fingers cause the fingers to flex toward the palm of the hand, similar to pulling the trigger of a gun. As the tendons move, the slide through a small opening, or tunnel, that keeps them perfectly in place.

In a condition known as trigger finger syndrome, the tendons become irritated, inflamed, and enlarged. Because of this, they can’t properly pass through the tunnel and the finger momentarily locks in flexion.

Illustration 1– A swollen tendon causes the finger to remain locked in the flexed position

Causes

There is no known cause of trigger finger syndrome. But, there are certain factors that put patients at an increased risk for developing it. Some of those factors are:

  • Gender (female)
  • Age (middle aged)
  • Related medical conditions (diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis)

In addition, people who constantly perform duties with their hands (i.e cashiers, secretaries, writers) are at an increased risk.

 Treatments

The most common non-surgical treatment option is a steroid injection. When a strong anti-inflammatory medicine, or corticosteroid, is injected into the tendon sheath of the affected finger, inflammation decreases and the tendon is able to move freely. In some cases, a single injection is enough to improve symptoms. In others, more injections might be needed (they can be given in three-month increments).

If non-surgical treatment doesn’t work, surgical intervention might be necessary. A trigger finger release is a procedure done under local anesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a tiny incision to widen the tunnel that the tendon passes under. The procedure takes less than an hour and the patient is able to return home the same day.

Results

Some results are seen immediately after surgery. Full results are seen after 2-4 weeks. Once fully healed, patients are able to return to normal activities without having to worry about their finger locking.

Contacting an Orthopedic Specialists

You don’t need to be limited by a trigger finger. Contact our office to arrange an appointment with one of our specialists, who can evaluate your condition and come up with a treatment plan to help you. A quick, full recovery is entirely possible when you’re in the right hands.

At Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, our Hand Team is led by awarded and Board certified Hand Surgeon, Dr. Elizabeth Morrison.  Dr. Morrison is an expert in Trigger Finger Syndrome and other hand and wrist related conditions.  Her treatment philosophy uses each patient’s unique condition, goals and lifestyles to create a specialized treatment plan.  Contact one of our five Long Island offices today to schedule an appointment!