An Overview Of Trigger Finger
What Is Trigger Finger
The ability to bend the fingers is governed by supportive tendons that connect muscles to the bones of the fingers. The tendons run along the length of the bone and are kept in place at intervals by tunnels of ligaments called pulleys. When the fingers bend, or are straightened, a slippery coating called tenosynovium helps the tendons smoothly glide through the ligaments with reduced friction.
Inflammation in the tenosynovium leads to a condition called trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis or flexor tendonitis, where one of the fingers or thumb of the hand is caught in a bent position. The affected digit may straighten with a quick snap, like pulling and releasing the trigger on a gun, hence the name trigger finger.
Causes Of Trigger Finger
Other causes of trigger finger can include the following:
- Repetitive Motion: Individuals who perform heavy, repetitive hand and wrist movements with prolonged gripping at work or play are believed to be at high risk of developing trigger finger.
- Medical Conditions: Conditions associated with developing trigger finger include hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and certain infections such as tuberculosis.
- Gender: Trigger finger is more common in females than males.
Signs and Symptoms Of Trigger Finger
- Pain and tenderness over the inflamed tendon nodule
- Bent finger suddenly pops out and straightens
- “Popping” or “clicking” sound or sensation when the nodule moves through the pulley
- Finger feels stiff and sore
- Finger gets locked, with inability to straighten when the nodule grows large and gets stuck in the pulley
- Symptoms are worse in the morning
Long-term complications of untreated trigger finger can include permanent digit swelling and contracture, as well as tearing of the tendon or rupture.