Sometimes you may notice that your finger can get stuck in a bent position and lock, then snap open. This condition is known as Trigger Finger.
What is Trigger Finger?
Trigger Finger can occur in the fingers or thumb and most commonly occurs in the ring finger. Symptoms often start with tenderness in the palm just below your finger and a stiffness in the morning.
As Trigger Finger progresses you can notice uneven movement in your finger and you may be able to feel a lump move in your palm as you bend and straighten your finger. The finger is on a “pulley system” – as you bend your finger, the tendon glides. The lump is on the tendon and is getting stuck in the pulley, which becomes more irritated and inflamed as you continue to bend your finger. Without treatment, the symptoms will become exacerbated and you will start to notice that your finger starts to get stuck in a bent position and snaps straight more frequently.
Trigger Finger is often related to occupations and hobbies that require repetitive gripping such as tradeswork and gardening. It occurs more often in women than men, and people who have diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis have a higher risk of developing Trigger Finger.
How your Hand Therapist can help
Your Hand Therapist can diagnosis your Trigger Finger by taking your history and undertaking a thorough clinical examination of your hand. This condition is treated by fabricating a thermoplastic splint to rest your finger. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may need to wear the splint all the time or just overnight. You will also be given stretches and exercises to maintain the movement in your finger.
If splinting does not completely resolve your symptoms, your Hand Therapist will recommend you see your GP to discuss other treatment options such as a corticosteroid injection or surgical release. The earlier you start treatment, the more likely splinting alone will resolve your Trigger Finger without the need for further treatment.