Trigger Fingers

Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) is a condition which involves the locking or clicking of a nodule on your tendon when you try to bend your finger or thumb. One of the first symptoms of trigger finger is a tender spot on the palm of the hand. It often feels like the source of the pain is in one of the joints. The tenderness is often accompanied by a snapping or "triggering" of the finger when it is pulled down into a fist and when the digits are opened again. Sometimes the digit will get stuck (locked) in the bent (flexed) position. It can then be difficult to open the hand.

Cause

Trigger fingers are caused by inflammation and swelling of the flexor tendon. We often don't know the cause of the inflammation but it may be related to chronic repetitive movement.

Surgery

If steroids do not resolve the clicking completely, you may need trigger finger release surgery to correct the problem. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a 2 cm incision in your palm and releases the band (the A1 pulley) that covers the tendons in the middle of the hand. This then releases the constriction around the tendon. The procedure takes 10 minutes or so and is typically done with local anesthesia, so you remain awake.

Recovery

Most people can use their hand quite well after 10-14 days. However, each person recovers at their own rate. It usually takes about 6-8 weeks for the hand to become "normal." Physiotherapy is sometimes required afterwards.

Possible Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection. Problems with the skin pulling open after surgery can be seen but usually heal without further surgery. There is a rare chance of longstanding numbness. Your surgeon will discuss other possible complications at the time of your consultation.