Trigger Finger: What Is It And How Long The Recovery Takes

Lifestyle & Health

January 25, 2018 17:24 By Fabiosa

What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger is a painful condition when one of your fingers becomes locked in a bent position. In the thumb, it is known as trigger thumb. The medical term for trigger finger is stenosing tenosynovitis. This condition happens when inflammation narrows the space within the sheath that surrounds the tendon in the finger. When trigger finger progresses, your finger may get stuck in a bent position.

People with diabetes, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis get trigger finger more often than others. Also, repeated gripping may result in this condition. However, in many cases, the cause of the trigger finger remains unknown.

Musicians, industrial workers, and farmers are at higher risk of developing stenosing tenosynovitis since they have to repeat finger movements a lot. Moreover, smokers can develop trigger thumb from the use of a lighter. Sex and age also play a role as women are more vulnerable to this condition, and it is more common in people who are over 40.

Symptoms of trigger finger

Signs and symptoms of trigger finger may vary from mild to severe, depending on the individual differences. They usually include the following:

  • finger stiffness, especially in the morning;
  • clicking sensations when a person tries to move the finger;
  • tenderness in the palm near the affected finger;
  • limited finger movement;
  • finger locked in a bent position and a person is unable to straighten it.

This painful condition can affect any finger, and both hands can be involved. People with this disease say that triggering is more pronounced in the morning.

When to visit a doctor

See your doctor as soon as possible if you notice that your finger joint is inflamed and hot. These warning symptoms can indicate an infection. If you experience stiffness, numbness or pain in your finger, make an appointment with your physician to find the problem and fix it.

Risk factors for trigger finger

Several factors increase your risk of developing this condition. They include the following:

  • gripping: if your hobbies or occupations involve hand use and repetitive gripping, you at increased risk;
  • some health conditions: rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes increases your risk of developing trigger finger;
  • sex: women are more vulnerable to this disease;
  • carpal tunnel syndrome surgery: some people may experience trigger finger after carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, particularly during the first months after surgery.

How long does the recovery take?

Luckily, there are different options to treat trigger finger. The choice of treatment depends on the duration and severity of the condition. Conservative treatments usually include rest as well as splinting and stretching exercises. Sometimes, anti-inflammatory drugs are also required. The recovery usually takes several weeks, but you may see significant improvements as soon as the treatment starts. Visit your doctor if you notice any worrying symptoms for better results.

Source: MayoClinic, WebMD, ASSH

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.