Do you have pain in your palm or a finger joint that clicks or locks when you move it? Do your hands hurt or lock when you wake up in the morning? Maybe this pain led you to try to not move a finger or thumb? You may have a common, disabling, but easily treated condition called “trigger finger.”
“Trigger finger is a variation of tendonitis. Inflammation of the tendon or its sheath is causing rubbing, catching, and pain,” explains Jonathan Rosenfeld, MD, Bryn Mawr Hospital hand surgeon. “This inflammation causes the finger or thumb to get stuck in a bent position, and, when straightened, snap like a trigger. This can be simply frustrating or quite painful. Sometimes there is pain without the snapping.”
Fortunately, trigger finger is preceded by certain symptoms that can serve as a red flag, including:
- Finger stiffness
- A popping or clicking sensation as you move your finger
- Tenderness or a bump at the base of the affected finger
Seeing a hand surgeon, a doctor that specializes in non-operative and operative treatment of the hand and wrist, may help stop a mild case of trigger finger from becoming more severe. Depending on the severity of your case of trigger finger, treatment options vary.
“For a milder case of trigger finger, medications, exercises, and possibly splinting may provide relief,” says Dr. Rosenfeld. “As the situation worsens, the next step is often a small injection of steroid (cortisone), which can rapidly improve the situation.”
Steroid injections reduce the inflammation in the tendon and return the system to normal. Often relief can occur with one injection. If the problem recurs frequently, there exists a small surgery to permanently relieve trigger finger. This surgery is outpatient, minimally invasive, minimally intrusive to hand use, and provides a rapid and permanent recovery.
To prevent trigger finger from happening, or if you suspect that you might be affected by the beginning stages of trigger finger, try flexing your fingers and soaking them in warm water to increase mobility and reduce swelling. Early evaluation by a hand surgeon for this and all issues about the hand and wrist should lead to an earlier diagnosis and likely less invasive treatment.
Dealing With Joint Pain?
If you're suffering from what you suspect could be trigger finger, visit our website to make an appointment with Dr. Rosenfeld or another one of our orthopedic physicians. While you're there, check out our upcoming events, including the Hip and Knee Pain seminar, offered at a variety of Main Line Health locations, including Bryn Mawr Hospital.