Trigger Finger

Tendons connect bones to muscles in the body. Flexor tendons of the thumb and fingers pull the fingers into a fist. The tendons are enclosed in a synovial sheath. When this sheath becomes inflamed it can cause trigger finger. Usually, tendons slide easily through the sheath as the finger moves. In the case of trigger finger, the synovial sheath is swollen. The tendon cannot move easily. This causes the finger to remain in a flexed (bent) position. In mild cases, the finger may be straightened with a pop. In severe cases, the finger becomes stuck in the bent position. Usually, this condition can easily be treated. Contact your doctor if you think you may have trigger finger.

  • Causes

    Often, the cause of trigger finger is unknown. However, many cases of trigger finger are caused by

    • tenosynovitis (swelling of synovial sheath)


    • genetics

  • Definition

    Tendons connect bones to muscles in the body. Flexor tendons of the thumb and fingers pull the fingers into a fist. The tendons are enclosed in a synovial sheath. When this sheath becomes inflamed it can cause trigger finger.

    Usually, tendons slide easily through the sheath as the finger moves. In the case of trigger finger, the synovial sheath is swollen. The tendon cannot move easily. This causes the finger to remain in a flexed (bent) position. In mild cases, the finger may be straightened with a pop. In severe cases, the finger becomes stuck in the bent position. Usually, this condition can easily be treated. Contact your doctor if you think you may have trigger finger.

    Trigger Finger
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The physical exam may include:

    • Asking you to move the affected finger or thumb
    • Feeling the hand and fingers

    For severe cases, your doctor may refer you to a hand specialist.

  • Prevention

    Avoid overuse of your thumb and fingers. If you have a job or hobby that involves repetitive motions of the hand, you can take the following steps:

    • Adjust your workspace to minimize the strain on your joints.
    • Alternate activities when possible.
    • Take breaks throughout the day.

  • Risk Factors

    The following factors increase your chance of developing trigger finger:

    • Age: 40 to 60
    • Overuse of the hand from repetitive motions:

      • Computer operation
      • Machine operation
      • Repeated use of hand tools
      • Playing musical instruments
    • Sex: female

    • History of certain diseases:

      • Rheumatoid arthritis
      • Gout
      • Hypothyroidism
      • Diabetes

  • Symptoms

    If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to trigger finger. Some of these symptoms may be caused by other health conditions. If you experience any one of them for a period of time, see your physician.

    • Finger or thumb stiffness
    • Finger, thumb, or hand pain
    • Swelling or a lump in the palm
    • Catching or popping when straightening the finger or thumb
    • Finger or thumb stuck in bent position

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. The goal of treatment is to reduce swelling and pain. This will allow the tendon to move freely in the sheath. Treatment options include the following:


    If you are diagnosed with trigger finger, follow your doctor's
    instructions
    .