Definition

Trigger finger is when a finger or thumb is locked in a bent position. It happens from swelling of the sheath that encloses the tendons of the thumb and fingers. This makes it hard for the tendon to move.

Trigger Finger
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Causes

This problem is caused by swelling of the sheath that encloses the tendons of the thumb and fingers. This makes it hard for the tendons to move. The exact cause of the swelling is not always known.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in women, and in people aged 60 and older. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Overuse of the hand from repetitive motions
  • Inflammatory problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Chronic health problems, such as renal insufficiency, diabetes, and thyroid disease

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Finger or thumb stuck in bent position
  • Finger, thumb, or hand pain
  • Problems with grip strength
  • Clicking, catching, or locking when straightening the finger or thumb
  • Finger or thumb stiffness
  • Swelling or a lump in the palm

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the hand. This is often enough to make the diagnosis. Some people may need to see a doctor who treats hands.

Treatment

It will take several weeks for most people to heal. The goals of treatment are to ease pain and swelling. This may include:

  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • A brace or splint to support the finger or thumb
  • Exercises to help with flexibility

Surgery

Some people may need surgery when other methods do not help. A small incision will be made in the hand. The tendon will be released from the locked position.

Prevention

There are no known guidelines to prevent this problem.

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