When a finger or the thumb gets caught in bent position doctors refer to this condition as the trigger finger. The most likely cause of this problem is narrowing of the sheath around the tendon of the finger that hurts. Diabetic patients and people who engage in repetitive gripping movements of the finger or fingers are more prone to this problem than anyone else, especially if the patient is female.
Trigger finger could be associated with Dupuytren’s contracture, but these are not the same conditions. Dupuytren’s contracture is characterized with thickening and shortening of the connective tissue in the palm of the hand and sometimes it can be presented as trigger finger problem as well.
Trigger Finger Symptoms
Patients suffering from trigger finger usually feel the stiffness of the affected finger in the morning. In most cases, problem affects the dominant hand and the thumb, middle or the ring finger on that hand. Sometimes trigger finger can also cause problems in several fingers of dominant hand or even both hands. This condition may also provoke difficulties to straighten the finger or fingers in the morning. Movement of affected finger may provoke some clicking or popping sounds, while the finger itself could be painful, with some bump at the base. Affected finger(s) could be locked for some time in bent position and then all of a sudden pop straight. Certain patients might not be able to straighten that finger at all.
Stiffness or catching in the finger joint should be reported to your doctor and evaluated, to see if there is some kind of physical problem affecting it. Inflammation and warmth of the finger also require medical attention, being the signs of infection.
How to Treat Trigger Thumb?
Mild cases of any trigger finger can be resolved with proper rest and some finger splinting if your doctor recommends so. Avoid performing repetitive gripping for several weeks, until the problem is solved. Try soaking the finger(s) in some warm water in the morning or at any moment you need, because this should decrease your problem. Finger or hand massage may also be helpful for this problem. There are some finger exercises patients suffering from this condition could also try.
Serious cases of trigger finger need different solution. Most times, doctors recommend some non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, but severe situations may call for the use of steroid medications such as cortisone injections. Percutaneous trigger finger release and surgical release of the tendon may also be used for some cases.