Stenosing tenosynovitis, commonly known as trigger thumb or trigger finger, occurs when the protective sheath that surrounds the tendons that allow the fingers and thumb to bend becomes inflamed or irritated. As a result, the tendon is no longer able to glide as the fingers and thumb open and close. Over time, the tendon can become scarred and thickened or develop nodules, which can make movement even more difficult. Click here to learn more about trigger finger, treatment and recovery.
Who is At Risk for Trigger Finger or Trigger Thumb?
Individuals who engage in work or hobbies that involve repeated or prolonged gripping or hand use are more likely to develop trigger finger or trigger thumb. The condition is also more common in women and individuals with inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes.
Symptoms of Stenosing Tenosynovitis
Stenosing tenosynovitis can affect any finger and often affects more than one finger at a time. Symptoms may progress from mild to severe as the inflammation and damage to the tendon worsen.
Symptoms typically include:
- a nodule or tenderness at the base of the affected finger,
- stiffness that is normally worse in the morning,
- a finger pops or clicks with movement, and
- a finger catches or locks when bent and then pops straight suddenly.
In severe cases, the bent finger may become locked to the point that it cannot be straightened.
Trigger Finger Treatment
Mild to moderate cases of trigger finger or trigger thumb may be treated with conservative measures, including:
- over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatories,
- stretching exercises,
- rest, or
- steroid injections.
In severe cases, the doctor may need to perform a procedure to release the constriction so that the tendon can move freely. One method involves inserting a needle into the area around the tendon to break apart the constriction. Another method involves making a small incision to open up the constricted tendon sheath. The majority of patients are able to move the affected fingers normally immediately after the procedure. Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor may recommend physical therapy following the surgery.
Contact us, Los Angeles’s best team of board-certified plastic hand surgeons, to schedule your consultation and learn how to best treat your symptoms of trigger finger. If you have not yet been diagnosed but feel you may have many if not most of the above symptoms, you should see a board-certified hand surgeon to obtain a proper diagnosis.