Why So Bent Out Of Shape?

Fingers cramp up from time to time. But if the pain is consistent and the fingers are having flexibility issues, then trigger finger could be the culprit. Trigger finger, also called stenosing tenosynovitis, is a common condition affecting 2% of the population. With trigger finger, one or more fingers get stuck in a bent position. Persons with trigger finger should understand the cause and what’s happening behind the scenes.

Minnesota Valley surgical center What Causes Trigger Finger Understanding Stenosing Tenosynovitis

How does a trigger finger happen?

Each finger in the hand has a long tendon attached. The tendon passes through a sheath and is responsible for bending and flexing the finger. If the tendons become inflamed for any reason, there can be difficulty extending the finger. Trigger finger often happens in the ring finger but can occur in other digits too. Persons with trigger fingers will feel pain at the base of the affected finger. Other symptoms include numbness, tenderness, and a clicking sound when extending the finger. In serious cases, the trigger finger needs to be extended manually.

Too much of a good thing

Overuse of the fingers is the most common reason for the condition. Persons who need the fingers for prolonged hours for work or play can get a trigger finger. Long hours doing repetitive gripping can also cause the disease. Many persons report pain early in the morning. Without adequate rest, the tendons will become inflamed.

How’s your health?

Underlying health issues like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can cause a trigger finger. The condition tends to show up in persons with diabetes more often; however, the reason is still unclear. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the joints. This could spread to the tendons in the finger. Treatment for these underlying conditions is just as important as treatment for trigger finger.

A startling connection to trigger finger

Women are more likely to get trigger finger than men. Women tend to have jobs that require fine motor skills. Pregnancy also plays a factor. There’s increased water retention in the body that can affect joints and tendons. Pregnant women are more likely to get issues like carpal tunnel and trigger finger. However, the ailments tend to resolve after childbirth.

Had carpal tunnel syndrome recently?

Speaking of carpal tunnel, research has shown that persons with carpal tunnel are more likely to get trigger finger. Carpal tunnel syndrome involves inflammation of the tunnel that houses the median nerve. This can move on to the surrounding tendons controlling the fingers.

The right treatment frees the finger

Trigger finger can put a damper on the quality of life. Thankfully, there are several non-surgical options available to treat the condition. Less than 50% of people with a trigger finger need surgery. Physical therapy, rest, and medication work well to keep trigger fingers at bay. In some cases, a steroid injection or carpal release surgery can bring long-term relief.

Care for your fingers

For fingers stuck in the trigger position, there are ways to reverse the pain and limited use of the fingers. Trigger fingers are mainly caused by overuse. However, other factors can cause a flare-up like diabetes, arthritis, and pregnancy. If pain is consistent from simply bending the fingers, talk to a doctor right away.

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