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Trigger Finger 101: Help & Info for Houston

Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO

Trigger finger (also known as “stenosing tenosynovitis” and “trigger thumb”) is a painful condition that causes a finger to catch in a locked, bent position, making it difficult to straighten the affected finger. Patients with a trigger finger experience the finger getting stuck in a bent position; sometimes the finger suddenly releases, straightening out with a snap.

What causes trigger finger?

The exact cause of a trigger finger isn’t always known. However, the basic mechanics of trigger finger work like this: the sheathe surrounding the tendon of the affected finger becomes inflamed, causing the finger to get stuck in a locked, bent position.

Certain people are at higher risk for a trigger finger. These include women and people who…

  • Have diabetes.
  • Are between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Have rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Strain their hands through repetitive gripping actions at work or in their hobbies.

What are the symptoms of a trigger finger?

If you have a trigger finger, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Tender lump in the palm
  • Finger stiffness (more common in the morning)
  • Swelling in the hand
  • Finger locked in a bent position
  • Pain when trying to bend or straighten out the finger
  • A catching/popping sensation in the finger joints

While a trigger finger is most common in the thumb, middle and ring fingers, it can occur in any of the fingers. Symptoms are usually worse in the morning.

How is a trigger finger diagnosed?

Diagnosis may begin with an examination by your Houston orthopedic doctor. Tests are usually not required. A conversation and in-person examination is sufficient for diagnosing a trigger finger.

How is trigger finger treated?

Your Houston orthopedic physician may recommend treating a trigger finger with non-surgical therapies, such as rest, splinting and the use of an NSAID (such as ibuprofen). Some patients may benefit from corticosteroid injections. However, injections are not a long-term therapy. If injections fail to fix the issue, surgery may be recommended.

During trigger finger surgery, the surgeon aims to widen the tendon sheath so that the affected tendon can move with greater freedom. This is an outpatient surgery that can be performed in a minimally invasive fashion.

Trigger Finger Symptoms? See a Houston Orthopedic Doctor

To learn more about trigger finger and how an orthopedic doctor in Houston may be able to help you, contact us. You can schedule an appointment with Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546 or visiting our online scheduler.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.