“Trigger finger“


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A trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) is a disorder in which one of the fingers of the hand gets stuck in a contracted position. The finger can be straightened and a crackling sound can be heard.

This disorder occurs when the space inside the sheath that surrounds the tendon of the finger is reduced during the inflammatory process. In severe cases of this disease, the finger may remain permanently in a cramped position.

People whose work or hobby leads to frequent finger cramps have an increased risk of this disease. The disorder is more common in women and people with diabetes. Treatmentsare different depending on the severity of the disease.

Symptoms of a trigger finger

Signs and symptoms of a trigger finger can be mild and severe, and include:

  • numbness of the finger, especially in the morning
  • feeling of cracking (skipping) during movement
  • sensitivity to touch or the appearance of a lump on the palm, at the base of the finger
  • locking of the finger in a crouched position that is suddenly straightened
  • locking of your finger in a crouched position that you cannot straighten

A trigger finger is a disorder that more commonly affects the thumb, middle finger, or ring finger. Several fingers can be affected at once, on both hands. locking in is more common in the morning when firmly grasping an object or when straightening a finger.

If your finger is stiff or sore, talk to your doctor. If your finger joint is inflamed or warm, seek medical attention immediately as these symptoms may indicate an infection.

Causes and risk factors

Tendons are fibrous fibers that connect muscles and bones. Each tendon is surrounded by a protective sheath. A trigger finger occurs when the tendon of the finger becomes inflamed or irritated which affects the normal movement of the tendon within the protective sheath.

A long period of tendon irritation can cause damage, thickening, or lump formation that makes it even more difficult to move.

Factors that increase the risk of snapping a finger are:

  • Repeated gripping – occupations or hobbies in which the hand is often used and an object is caught for a longer period of time, increases the risk of snapping a finger.
  • Certain health disorders – People with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of snapping a finger.
  • Gender– snapping finger is more common in women.

Rapid diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis does not require extensive testing. Our orthopedist will make a diagnosis based on medical history and examination. During the examination, you will be asked to open and close your fist while monitoring areas of pain, ease of movement, and signs of locking.. It will also check for the potential development of lumps on the palm. If there is a lump that is associated with a snap finger disorder, it will be mobile because it is part of the tendon that moves the finger.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, which reduce pain, can be used to treat a snap finger. Therapies include conservative non-invasive methods or surgical methods.

Non-invasive conservative methods of treating trigger fingers are:

  • Rest – for at least three or four weeks, avoid activities that require frequent and firm gripping of objects and prolonged use of vibrating hand machines (eg drills).
  • Ice or heat – in some people the improvement is visible by putting ice packs on the palm, several times a day. In other people, the improvement is visible by soaking your hand in warm water, especially early in the morning.
  • Splint – An orthopedist may recommend a splint during the night that keeps the affected finger in an outstretched position. It relaxes the tendon. The splint also helps prevent the finger from clenching into a fist while you sleep, leading to difficult and painful finger movements in the morning.
  • Stretching exercises – an orthopedist can also recommend gentle stretching exercises that will facilitate and maintain finger mobility.

Surgical methods of treating the snap finger are also available to us. If your symptoms are severe and conservative methods have no effect, an orthopedist may recommend:

  • Steroid injections. Injection of a steroid drug near the tendon sheath or into the sheath can reduce inflammation and allow tendon movement more easily. This is the most common treatment. In patients who do not have diabetes, it is an effective method of treatment in as many as 90% of cases. Sometimes a repeated injection is needed.
  • Percutaneous release. After applying the anesthetic to the palm, our orthopedist inserts a solid needle into the tissue around the affected tendon. By moving the needle and finger, it helps reduce the tension that blocks the smooth movement of the tendon. This treatment can be done with the help of ultrasound to see the movement of the needle and the tendon remaining undamaged.
  • Surgical treatment. With a small incision at the base of the finger, the orthopedist will cut out the tense portion of the tendon sheath. This procedure is quickly completed and does not require hospitalization.

For all additional questions, contact the professional staff of the Ribnjak Polyclinic or order a treatment by phone or form on the page.

In short

Polyclinic Ribnjak is a unique institution in the Republic of Croatia. It unites different branches of medicine, all in order to stay true to its slogan “Health and Beauty. Together”. Orthopedics, advanced sports diagnostics, functional and kinesiological rehabilitation, cosmetic surgery and treatments are the services we provide on a daily basis, professionally and in accordance with the latest professional standards.


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