The tendon sheath that encases and supports the tendons of the flexor muscles of your fingers can undergo wear and tear, resulting in what is known as the trigger finger. This painful condition is accompanied by stiffness of the joints; in late stages, the finger could become locked in the flexed position. This limits the mobility of the fingers and hence affects daily life.
How does Trigger Finger Come About?
Overuse of the fingers, as well as advancing age, are primary risk factors for this condition. The ring, middle finger and the thumb are frequently affected.
Trigger finger is so named because the thickened, worn out tendon sheath constricts at the entry point where a nodule forms. In order to force the tendon fibres through this constricted sheath, the finger needs to be ‘triggered’ through the narrowed part.
A complete physical examination and history will lead to a confirmative diagnosis.
How is Trigger Finger Treated?
When the condition is mild, splinting is usually advised. This is combined with a steroid injection that usually helps relieve the pressure on the tendons. However, there is a high recurrence rate with non-surgical treatment, especially in more severe cases.
Surgery is the more preferred and effective treatment option in patients with recurrent trigger finger. This surgical procedure relieves the pressure on the tendons by excising the thickened tendon sheath. This surgery is done under local anaesthesia and usually takes about an hour at most.
Proper post-op rehabilitation and care is pivotal in returning the finger to full functionality. It can take about three months to fully mobilize the fingers.