Trigger finger is a condition where the tendons used to bend the fingers become inflammed, resulting in pain and tenderness. The condition restricts finger movement and may result in clicking or locking of the finger in a bent position.

While several treatment options are available for the trigger finger, you may require surgery if the condition is severe and if non-surgical therapies cannot restore full movement and resolution of pain.. Fortunately, your orthopaedic hand surgeon can perform the procedure quickly with a high rate of success. As a hand surgeon near me at the Mudgeeraba Hand Clinic, we have significant experience in assisting people with this condition. 

Trigger Finger – An Overview 

Trigger finger, also called stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition where the fingers get fixed or locked in a bent position. Early triggering may present as a swollen finger, pain or tenderness, then clicking and finally locking. The condition not only makes it difficult to use or move the finger, but also causes significant discomfort and pain. 

Some of the common symptoms associated with the condition include – 

  • Pain near the base of the thumb or finger when pressed or moved
  • Stiffness with a clicking feeling when moving the affected finger or thumb
  • Loss of ability to straighten the affected finger or thumb 

The condition may also be referred to as trigger digit because it can affect both the fingers and thumb. Usually, trigger finger affects the fourth or fifth fingers or the thumb. 

What are the Causes of Trigger Finger?

Although trigger finger can occur in anyone, some people are at a greater risk of developing it. They include –

  • Women 
  • People with diabetes 
  • People with rheumatoid arthritis 
  • People with past hand injuries 
  • People aged from 40 to 60

Repetitive movements such as playing the guitar, playing video games, or gripping a steering wheel may exacerbate the trigger symptoms. However, the exact cause is often unknown in most cases. 

Trigger finger is also linked to several medical conditions, for example rheumatoid arthritis. As RA causes swelling in joint tissue, the inflammation could easily extend to the thumbs and fingers.

People with diabetes are also at a higher risk of having trigger finger. Around 10 percent of people who develop trigger finger are diabetic, while only 2 to 3 percent of the general population is affected by the condition. It’s important to note that the correlation between diabetes and trigger finger isn’t clear.  

Who Requires Surgery for Trigger Finger?

When trigger finger is left untreated, it can easily become permanent. When the affected thumb or finger gets fixed in a specific position, it makes regular tasks much more difficult. 

Fortunately, trigger finger doesn’t always require surgical intervention. Some of the non-surgical options include –

  • Anti-inflammatory medication 
  • Steroid injections to the affected region
  • Splinting or strapping the affected area to stop movement 
  • Temporarily stopping or reducing the activity causing pain

Only when these treatments don’t work should you look for a hand surgeon near me. Before surgery, your doctor will carefully assess your pain and how it affects your day-to-day activities to determine whether you’re the right candidate for surgery. 

Trigger finger can also affect children, however this is usually present since birth and most often affects the thumb. If it is not resolved by 1 year of age, surgery can be considered.

What are the Surgical Options Available for Trigger Finger?

Typically, three surgical approaches are taken to treat the trigger finger. Let’s take a look at them –

  • Percutaneous Release Surgery – Your surgeon will insert a needle below the digit to cut the tendon sheath. 
  • Open Surgery – Your surgeon will make an incision in the palm to cut the tendon sheath, allowing more room for the tendon to move. After it’s performed, the incision will be stitched up. During the procedure, you will be under local or general anaesthesia. 
  • Tenesynovectomy – If the first two treatments are unsuitable for you, such as people who have rheumatoid arthritis, your surgeon may recommend this surgical approach. During the surgery, your doctor may remove a portion of the FDS tendon or inflamed synovium to increase finger mobility. 

Conventionally, most surgeons prefer open surgery because it comes with a very low risk of complications. 

When it comes to percutaneous release surgery, there is a slight chance that the procedure may damage nerves or vessels closely located to the tendon sheath. 

A 2016 study established that people undergoing both types of surgeries reported similar satisfaction levels in the long run. 

Because surgery for trigger finger usually takes about 20 minutes, patients won’t have to stay overnight at the hospital. Despite being awake during the surgery, patients will not feel pain because local anaesthetic will be applied to the surgical area before treatment. 

Wrapping Up 

In most cases, trigger finger surgery is highly effective. Not only do open and percutaneous release surgical methods come with high success rates, but they also have a quick recovery period. If a hand surgeon near me is required, do contact our knowledgeable team at the Mudgeeraba Hand Clinic. Our orthopaedic hand surgeon will discuss your options and advise on the most appropriate treatment path for you.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I am Aria. I am a passionate blogger. Blogging is my profession. I love to write articles on several topics. Keep up the good work and Have a great day!