Trigger Finger: Effectiveness Of Steroid Injections Compared To Percutaneous Trigger Release
Why Do My Fingers Ache?
Trigger finger happens when repetitive use of the fingers causes the joint to lock when extended. As a result, many patients with trigger finger report decreased hand mobility. Clinically known as stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger impacts mature adults at the highest rate. Trigger finger is often described as a painful clicking sensation in the knuckle, developing first as a gradual ache and can become chronic. Many experts note that locking most commonly occurs in the most mobile fingers, the thumb and pointer finger. In extreme cases, the impacted digit can become permanently stuck in a fixed position. Depending on the individual, doctors may suggest steroids or specific surgical interventions manage symptoms and restore movement to the area.
Can steroids unlock my fingers?
Upon initial diagnosis, numerous doctors recommend non-surgical treatments as a first line of defense against locking joints. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as cortisone or corticosteroid, will be administered to the tendon at the base of the impacted finger. Notably, the treatment has lower rates of effectiveness in patients with diabetes but still helps some prevent surgical intervention. Depending on the patient, a single injection can be sufficient to stop the finger from locking. However, surgery is often the next step toward vital relief if symptoms don't resolve with two injections.
When is surgery necessary?
If non-surgical treatments prove limited or unhelpful, many patients consider surgical options. One such procedure, called percutaneous trigger release, works by dividing the A1 pulley, which generally blocks the tendon's overall movement. Without the blockage, the flexor can easily move through the tendon sheath. Traditionally, non-invasive surgery is performed via a small incision with an anesthesia injection to numb sensation. Many physicians suggest thinking of the surgery as a long-term solution, providing function while preventing future issues. However, achieving a complete range of motion may not be likely if an injury was present before surgery.
Making the best choice for you
While trigger finger is common, the decrease in mobility can be debilitating to countless patients. As an initial treatment, steroid injections provide potential relief symptoms by reducing inflammation in the tendon. In particularly resistant cases of immobility, some experts recommend surgical trigger release. By removing blockages inhibiting the flexor's movement, patients often report a return of function. After addressing the trigger finger, patients can return to life with less pain and a better range of motion.
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