Trigger Digit

Commonly known as trigger finger, trigger digit is a medical condition where a finger is forced into a bent position. Medically referred to as stenosing tenosynovitis, this condition makes it difficult to straighten the affected finger, generally due to inflammation in the tendons controlling that finger. 

What are the Causes of Trigger Finger?

From a general standpoint, trigger finger arises due to tendon inflammation or irritation. When the tendons that drive finger movement become inflamed or irritated, it can interfere with motor function and flexibility. In more advanced cases, bumps or nodes can form along the tendon, impeding proper functionality and forcing a finger to bend. 

Although trigger finger does not have a precise and singular cause, there are any risk factors that can contribute to the development of this condition. Individuals who engage in repeated gripping movements are susceptible to trigger finger. The same is true for individuals with diabetes or arthritis. Trigger finger is also a known complication for patients who recently underwent surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Does Trigger Finger Produce Common Symptoms?

When a patient develops trigger finger, it can produce a number of common signs and symptoms, including:

  • Bent finger that won’t straighten naturally;
  • Finger catching in a bent position before popping back into straight position;
  • Clicking or popping feeling when flexing or extending the affected finger; or
  • Tenderness or soreness in the palm, near the base of the affected finger.

Can a Doctor Treat Trigger Finger Successfully?

Before the treatment process can begin, a doctor must diagnose trigger finger. Unlike other conditions, this is typically a straightforward process. A doctor can usually diagnose trigger finger based on a patient’s medical history and a physical examination. 

After diagnosing trigger finger, it is vital for a doctor or similar medical provider to administer treatment. This is a complex condition that does not usually respond well to self-treatment. Patients can make trigger finger worse inadvertently, particularly if they try to straighten a bent finger with undue force. 

That being said, a doctor may recommend any or all of the following treatment options to alleviate trigger finger:

  • Medication — Certain anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce tendon inflammation and alleviate trigger finger. 
  • Therapy — Some patients can recover from trigger finger with a comprehensive program of physical/occupational therapy
  • Injection — Applying a steroid injection at or near the inflamed tendon can release pressure and restore normal function or flexibility. 
  • Needling — Inserting a needle into the tissue around the inflamed tendon can eliminate build-up and alleviate trigger finger. 
  • Surgery — When other treatment methods are inadequate or ineffective, a doctor may need to conduct surgery to repair damaged tissues and correct trigger finger. 

Do You Need Medical Help with Trigger Finger?

If you have any of the common symptoms of trigger finger, it can be highly productive to reach out to a knowledgeable orthopaedic doctor. At the Orthopaedic Associates of Riverside, all of our doctors have certifications at the board level, not to mention a particular dedication to orthopaedic conditions like trigger finger. If you think you might have trigger finger or another orthopaedic injury, contact us today to schedule a consultation. 


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