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What is Trigger Finger and Trigger Thumb?

Trigger finger, and trigger thumb, is a common but uncomfortable condition that can affect any finger, or multiple fingers, on your hand.

Through repeated gripping motions, the tendons in your hand may become inflamed. Commonly, genetic predisposition is a factor. This leads to a condition called tenosynovitis, where the tendon becomes too swollen to fit the sheath that surrounds it. Over time, the tendon may become stuck or tear.

Usually, our fingers are able to bend and move smoothly because the tendon isn’t inflamed and can glide within the sheath. When a patient develops trigger finger, or trigger thumb, they will experience “locking” of their finger when their tendon becomes stuck, or motion is simply limited with or without pain.

Trigger Finger Anatomy

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Trigger Finger and Trigger Thumb are common examples of tenosynovitis, inflammation of tendons of the hand and wrist. It’s these tendons that allow your fingers and thumbs to bend smoothly and without any pain. Each tendon is surrounded by a sheath, which normally have enough space to allow the move back and forth as your fingers move.
When a patient has tenosynovitis (or, swelling of a tendon), these tendons get stuck in the sheath. This leads to more irritation and discomfort. Over time, the flexor tendons may eventually become stuck or “pop” through the sheath, resulting in trigger finger.

When Trigger Finger Surgery is Required

When a patient has been diagnosed with trigger finger, or trigger thumb, they may be put on a treatment plan that is conservative at first. Physical and occupational therapy, rest, splinting, and stretches can help many patients regain their comfort and dexterity. Steroid injections can also be used to help reduce the tendon inflammation that causes trigger finger and associated pain.

If conservative treatments are unable to provide relief, the experienced surgeons at HandSport Surgery Institute may recommend trigger finger or trigger thumb surgery.

Left untreated, a patient with trigger finger, or trigger thumb, may have their finger permanently stuck in a bent position. When surgery is the best option, Dr. Mark Pruzansky or Dr. Jason Pruzansky will examine your specific case to determine whether to use open or percutaneous trigger finger surgery to treat you.

What Does Trigger Finger Surgery Entail?

Surgery for trigger finger and trigger thumb is a short procedure that is out-patient, allowing the patient to avoid general anesthesia and go home the same day.

Using local or regional anesthesia, your surgeon will make a small incision in the palm of your hand to best observe the tendon. Since trigger finger is caused by an inflamed tendon, your HandSport Surgery Institute surgeon will widen the tendon sheath to give it more space to move. This will ultimately release the locked finger and help patients regain their dexterity and comfort.

Recovering from Trigger Finger and Thumb Surgery

Once the surgery is over, people generally move the affected finger more comfortably. Sometimes, occupational therapists aid in optimizing function.

If You Are Experiencing Hand Pain, Please Contact Us

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. Hand pain can present in many ways, including trigger finger and trigger thumb, and be caused by many things. Call Dr. Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment, obtain an accurate diagnosis, and start to improve the function of your hand.

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