Injuries to your hand or wrist can be debilitating to your every day function. Hand injuries send a million workers to ERs each year. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 110,000 lost-time hand injuries annually. The Hand Doctor is In... Blog series was created to provide you with information about common hand and wrist conditions.
Trigger finger (also known as stenosing tenosynovitis) is the second most common condition seen by hand surgeons. It is caused by the tendon that flexes the finger getting caught as it moves through a tunnel into the finger. This tunnel starts in the palm just before the web spaces. Over time, the entrance to this tunnel can thicken, narrowing the tunnel. The tendon can then get caught as the finger moves from a position of finger flexion into extension. This causes a catching, popping, or “triggering” of the finger. Additional symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness.
The condition is considered idiopathic (i.e. the cause is unknown). Medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disease are risk factors. It is not caused by osteoarthritis (typical “wear and tear” arthritis) but is more common in patients with inflammatory arthritis such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
Trigger finger is a very treatable condition. The most common first line treatment is a corticosteroid injection into the finger. Injections can actually cure this condition in over half of patients. Splinting is also an option. Surgery is considered for patients with painful trigger fingers after failure of conservative treatment. The results of surgery are generally excellent. It is done on an outpatient basis and patients can use the hand for light activity immediately.Call Dr. Klinefelter's office at 614-839-3201 to schedule an appointment if your trigger finger is interfering with your activities of daily living.
Dr. Klinefelter is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand surgery with an emphasis on complex hand and wrist injuries. He treats patients at OrthoNeuro's Downtown Columbus, Dublin, New Albany, and Westerville offices.
The Hand Doctor is In... Series will feature monthly blogs from Dr. Klinefelter about common injuries of the hand and wrist.