Trigger Finger is characterised by pain and stiffness when attempting to straighten or bend a finger. The condition is most commonly observed in the ring finger and thumb.
Tendons glide through a tunnel-like lining to enable movement. Swelling of the tendon lining can impede the smooth motion of tendons, leading to Trigger Finger.
Symptoms may include finger joint pain or a sensation of the finger "catching" when flexed. In severe cases, the finger may become "locked" in a bent position.
- A nodule may be felt at the base of the finger or thumb.
- Tightness at the base of the finger or finger stiffness, especially in the morning.
- Triggering or locking on opening or closing the fingers - when the finger begins to trigger or lock (stuck in a bent position), pain in the middle of the finger or thumb can be felt.
- More common in women.
- Individuals who have an occupation or hobby that involves repetitive and prolonged gripping are at higher risk of developing trigger finger.
- Individuals with pre-existing health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes are at higher risk of developing trigger finger.
Your doctor would first question your general health and symptoms before conducting a thorough physical examination.
Diagnosis is made based on your reported symptoms, physical examination, and investigations.
Your doctor will ask you to open and close your hand. Your fingers will be checked for painful parts, lumps, and locking.
- Reduce frequency of repetitive gripping.
- Wear a split to rest the tendon.
- Medications such as painkillers or Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain.
- If you are not responding well to the treatments above, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation.
Trigger Finger surgery
- Your doctor may suggest Trigger Finger surgery if all other types of treatment have not worked, and your finger is locked (permanently stuck).
- Trigger Finger surgery is a minor procedure that can be done as day surgery under local anaesthesia.
- Trigger finger surgery is performed to release the tendon from the sheath when it is causing pain, or the finger becomes ‘locked’.
- The surgeon will make a small incision near the base of the affected finger to release the tendon from the part of the sheath it was catching on.
- Surgery is usually an effective and permanent solution to Trigger Finger. You will regain normal use of your hand upon recovery.
Gleneagles Hospital works with orthopaedic specialists to assist patients through diagnosis and treatment. The caring and multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals are available for consultation and to provide the best care.