Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a hand ailment in which the fingers of the hand can become locked in a flexed position. Many Houston area trigger finger patients come to Dr. Polsen because he is a highly recognized hand surgeon.

Hand injuries can manifest in several different ways, some more or less convenient than others. In fact, many of these hand ailments can be exceptionally painful, especially when they are the results of repetitive motions. One of these ailments is a condition known as stenosing tenosynovitis, more commonly known as “Trigger Finger.” A patient suffering from trigger finger commonly notes pain around the index finger (although not exclusively), sometimes stretching into the thumb. In many cases, the finger will become “locked” in a flexed position—resembling that of a finger around a trigger.

Trigger finger tends to manifest most often in patients who engage in repetitive motions with their hands. The tendons around the finger become inflamed, causing pressure and pain as the tendon attempts to slide through its sheath. In some cases, the tendon gets so swollen that the finger then becomes locked in place. There are several ways to treat Trigger Finger, depending on the extent of the injury. If you are experiencing pain or loss of mobility, contact Clear Lake Hand Center immediately to schedule a consultation. We treat many Trigger Finger patients in the Houston and Clear Lake area.

Trigger Digit Release

What Are the Symptoms of Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger symptoms can manifest slowly and over time, especially with repetitive motion. While symptoms manifest most often in the index finger, any of the fingers can be affected by this condition. The following symptoms are most often associated with Trigger Finger:

  • A finger locked in flexed position (like a trigger finger)
  • A nodule forming around the base of the impacted finger (usually in the form of a bump or of tenderness)
  • A finger that “pops” back into a straight position after being caught in a flexed position
  • A click or pop sound when you flex your finger
  • Stiffness in the finger, especially in the morning or when you first wake up

These symptoms will vary from patient to patient. Some patients will experience symptoms but not necessarily notice them (though the pain caused by this ailment will be difficult to ignore).

How Can Trigger Finger Impact Your Daily Life?

Most patients will first seek out medical attention for hand issues when those issues begin to impact their daily lives or interfere with normal activities. When you first begin to suffer from trigger finger, there are some ways in which you might first notice those symptoms. For example, if it becomes difficult to cook or chop vegetables for dinner because one finger is stuck in a flexed position, you might be more likely to seek a medical remedy.

Some of the ways in which Trigger FInger might interfere with your daily life could include the following:

  • Difficulty using a computer: It may be challenging, uncomfortable, or painful to use a keyboard or mouse with the affected hand. This could negatively impact one’s employment or career path.
  • Household tasks: Normal, everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning could become arduous ro problematic. Because trigger finger often impacts your dominant hand, holding a knife or spatula as you chop or flip could become difficult.
  • Exercise: Lifting weights will usually requires a firm grip. Injuries to your hand, then, can diminish your exercise or workout routine. The pain and discomfort that accompanies Trigger Finger may also limit your overall endurance when it comes to your workout.

There are many ways in which Trigger Finger can directly and indirectly impact your everyday life. If you suspect you’re suffering from trigger finger, it’s important to seek a medical diagnosis so that the condition can be monitored and, if necessary, treated.

What Causes Trigger Finger?

In most cases, it’s not entirely clear what causes an individual occurrence of Trigger Finger. Generally speaking, Trigger Finger can strike any finger on any individual. But there are some factors that seem to make the development of Trigger Finger more likely:

  • Repetitive motion: It’s unknown whether the repetitive motion itself or other injuries caused by repetitive motion (such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) are more likely to cause the development of Trigger Finger symptoms. But it does seem to be a risk factor.
  • Diabetes: Patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes are more likely to develop Trigger Finger than patients who do not have diabetes, though the cause for this isn’t entirely understood.
  • Inflammatory diseases: Inflammation in general can cause a wide variety of issues with your body, and your hands are no exception. Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout have both been associated with more frequent presentations of Trigger Finger symptoms.
  • Thumb and middle finger: The most common fingers affected by Trigger Finger are the thumb or the middle finger. But Trigger Finger can–and frequently does–impact any of your digits.
  • Dominant hand: In most cases, Trigger Finger will occur on the patient’s dominant hand. While that is the most common occurrence, Trigger Frequent will also sometimes occur on the non-dominant hand as well.

That said, simply because these risk factors are present does not necessarily mean that you will develop Trigger Finger. Likewise, the absence of any risk factors does not mean you are safe from Trigger Finger symptoms. Trigger Finger may often go away on its own, but it’s still usually warranted to monitor the symptoms and condition in order to best prepare any treatment should the symptoms linger or worsen.

If you begin to experience the pain and discomfort associated with Trigger Finger, or if your finger becomes stuck in a flexed position, contact a hand surgeon such as Dr. Charles Polsen, in order to seek out treatment options.

What Are the Treatments for Trigger Finger?

At his Houston hand clinic, Dr. Polsen offers a few different treatments for Trigger Finger, depending on the severity of the symptoms and the progression of the inflammation. In some cases, ice and rest can be enough to mitigate some of the most painful symptoms (this diminishes the inflammation of the tendon). However, in many cases, surgery will be necessary to mitigate the pain caused by Trigger Finger.

During surgery, a small incision will be made in the hand. In most cases, a hole will be cut in the sheath around the tendon. While this does not immediately diminish inflammation, it reduces friction and diminishes pain. Over time—along with a reduction in repetitive motion—this can help diminish the discomfort caused by Trigger Finger.

Dr. Polsen, who has experience treating Trigger Finger patients in Houston and who come to see him, and it’s likely that he may be able to help you if you are suffering from pain in the hand. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Polsen, contact the staff at Clear Lake Hand Center to get started.

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Polsen is committed to helping his patients improve the quality of their life by providing technologically-advanced care in a comfortable setting. Call the Clear Lake Hand Center at 281-334-HAND where you can discuss your concerns, and if appropriate, schedule a consultation for evaluation.

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Dr Polsen and his staff did such an excellent job on my carpal tunnel and cubital release surgery that I am considering having the other one done. The results were better than I expected. I wish that I hadn't waited so long to have the surgery. Highly Recommend!

- Actual Patient