Trigger Finger

What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger is pain or stiffness when straightening or bending the finger. The tendon lining is like a tunnel whereby the tendons glide to bring about motion. Swelling of the tendon lining impairs the smooth gliding motion of the tendons, causing pain or a catching feeling when the patient tries to flex the finger. The finger may also become  “locked”.

The causes of trigger finger are not always clear. However, they include minor injury from repetitive tasks, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, diabetes and trauma to the palm or base of the finger.

The symptoms of trigger finger include:

  • A nodule sensation at the base of the finger or thumb
  • Aching sensations at the base of the finger or thumb
  • Tightness at the base of the finger or thumb
  • Triggering or locking on opening or closing the fingers — the patient would feel pain in the middle of the finger or thumb when the finger begins to trigger or lock

To start with, non-surgical methods of treatment are tried, including:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
  • Reducing the frequency of gripping things
  • Steroid injection
  • Wearing a splint

If the symptoms persist, surgery may be suggested. It is a minor procedure that can be done as day surgery under local anaesthesia. The surgery is almost always successful and would allow the patient to regain normal use of the hand upon recovery.

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