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Trigger Finger

So you been diagnosed with the trigger finger, now what…..

When patients first notice a trigger finger, they’re usually very concerned. Trigger finger causes a snapping, and sometimes pain, in the hand, and often leads to decreased movement in the finger. Most people think that this is a very uncommon condition. The truth is that is it is one of the most common conditions that hand surgeons treat.

In order to understand what a trigger fingers is you first have to understand a little bit about the anatomy of the hand. Muscles in the forearm become tendons in the hand that eventually insert into the bone. When the muscles contract, they pull on the tendons, which subsequently move the bones across the joints. These tendons run through structures called “pulleys.” The purpose of the pulleys is to keep the tendons near the bone in order to allow more motion. Sometimes the tendons get irritated and thickened, and sometimes the pulleys get thickened, and this can cause a snapping as the tendon moves through the pulley. This is trigger finger. Sometimes it goes away on its own, but sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes the finger can actually get stuck in one position.

There are several treatment options have been described for this, including splinting injections and even surgery. Most likely on your first visit the doctor will offer you an injection; this is a steroid injection given directly into the tendon sheath that will help decrease inflammation. At first you may notice increased snapping and clicking in the finger, but eventually it should decrease. The results of steroid injections are quite good, depending on the severity of your condition. Sometimes if these measures do not work, then surgery is indicated. The procedure can often be done in the office with a needle, but often needs to be done in the operating room under a local anesthetic. The results of this treatment are excellent, and most people recover without any evidence of any more triggering.

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