What is trigger finger?
Trigger finger (medically known as tenosynovitis) refers to a finger which tends to get stuck or locked into a bent position and pops or clicks as it is straightened. Trigger finger is a painful and somewhat disabling condition that tends more often to affect the thumb, index or middle finger of the dominant hand. In some cases, more than one finger can be affected. In rare cases, fingers of both hands can be affected. More severe cases may result the finger being permanently bent.
Signs and symptoms of trigger finger:
Trigger finger is a chronic condition that develops slowly and progresses from mild to more disabling. Trigger finger presents as follows:
- the first sign is pain at the base of the finger;
- the most typical sign is a clicking or snapping when bending or straightening the finger;
- stiffness or locking of the affected finger is more significant in the morning or after periods of prolonged inactivity;
- a tender nodule or bump may form at the base of affected finger;
- fingers more often become locked after significant periods of flexion;
How does trigger finger develop?
Lifestyle habits, hobbies and daily activities play an important role in the pathogenesis of trigger finger.
In order to ensure flexibility of movement, the muscle sheath around tendons are lined with tenosynovium, a membrane that secretes synovial fluid for smooth muscle functioning. With long-standing or chronic inflammation, the muscle sheath becomes progressively narrowed and interferes with normal muscle function resulting in trigger finger
Frequent, recurrent and sustained gripping movements of the hands increase the risk of tissue spasm which, in turn, leads to inflammation of the muscle sheath. When the muscle sheath is inflamed, the passageway is narrowed and the tendons become stiff. These changes are more marked around the muscle tendon at the base of the digit where it attaches to the bone.
Following factors increase the risk of trigger finger:
- diabetes, especially if poorly controlled;
- prolonged gripping such as working with power tools; playing musical instruments;
- medical conditions such rheumatoid arthritis, amyloidosis and issues involving thyroid metabolism;
- for poorly defined reasons, women are higher risk candidates for the condition;
- with age-related wear and tear, the condition is more prevalent in individuals between the ages of 40 to 60.
If you have trigger finger or think you may be developing trigger finger we recommend you get Physiotherapy assessment as soon as possible. In many cases trigger finger can be quickly treated and managed if the proper steps are taken. At Ace Physio our Registered Physiotherapists will help you treat the root cause of your trigger finger and treat it accordingly.