What is Trigger Finger & Trigger Thumb?

The flexor tendon on the finger locks and clicks as it passes under the fibrous pulleys of the hand and finger, causing trigger finger. This condition is most common in patients in their forties and fifties, as well as the elderly. The onset is usually gradual, with a small painful bump at the base of the finger as the first sign. The finger may start to click over time and eventually become stuck in a flexed (bent) position.

Patients frequently describe waking up with their finger bent down towards the palm of their hand, which they must then painfully straighten by pulling on the finger.

Moving the finger, unfortunately, causes more irritation as the tendon and pulley become more irritated and inflamed. As a result, the condition frequently worsens, becoming more painful and causing greater difficulties in functional hand use.

The thumb, middle, and ring fingers are the most commonly affected. Patients with diabetes and other endocranial and metabolic disorders are more likely to develop the condition. It may also be linked to a patient’s job (carpenter or electrician) or recreational activities (climbers or racket sports) that require a lot of gripping and strenuous activities with the hands and upper limb, such as climbers. In these cases, activity modification may be the first line of treatment, but symptoms can take a long time to resolve. Although physiotherapy-recommended exercises and stretches can help, many patients find that their symptoms persist.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger and trigger thumb?

The symptoms of trigger finger and trigger thumb are:

  • Pain, tenderness and swelling on the palm side of your finger/thumb
  • A “clicking” or “catching” sensation when trying to move the finger/thumb (it may even get stuck in a bent position if severe)
  • Pain when you press on it

If this sounds like your pain, read on…

What are some additional conditions that are similar to trigger finger and trigger thumb?

  1. Osteoarthritis of the wrist
  2. Carpal tunnel syndrome
  3. Osteoarthritis of the thumb
  4. Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) tear
  5. Scapholunate ligament injury
  6. Dupuytren’s contracture

Trigger finger and thumb vs Dupuytren’s contracture

Trigger finger and thumb cause the finger to become caught or imprisoned, and straightening it out often requires some power. Dupuytren’s contracture, on the other hand, is caused by a tightening and thickening of the fascia in the palm of the hand, causing the fingers to flex, especially the ring and little fingers. Trigger fingers can ordinarily straighten without the need for external force, but in Dupuytren’s contracture, the fingers are unable to straighten even with the assistance of the other hand.

Treatment of Trigger Finger using Steroid Injections

For this illness, ultrasound-guided steroid injections can be quite beneficial. A tiny amount of corticosteroid can be applied directly to the thickness that affects the tendon and pulley. According to studies, curing this problem with just a single corticosteroid injection has a very high success rate. Because a second injection may be necessary in some cases, we recommend waiting at least 4-6 weeks between treatments.

Here are some of the potential risks and side effects of steroid injections, as well as more information regarding the treatment. The adverse effects are usually minor because the doses used for this ailment are so low. Because this is a shallow injection close to a tendon, we will recommend the most appropriate corticosteroid to reduce the danger of local soft tissue structures being damaged. There’s a chance you’ll get some transient depigmentation (skin lightening) and fat atrophy (dimpling cause by temporary thinning of fat just below the skin).

Joint Injection’s experts are dual-trained, highly specialised physiotherapists and musculoskeletal sonographers with extensive experience diagnosing all hand and wrist disorders, including Trigger Finger. We provide a ‘one-stop’ clinic, which means you’ll get an examination, a diagnostic ultrasound, and, if necessary, an ultrasound-guided injection.