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Trigger Finger

  • What is trigger finger?

    Trigger finger is pain or stiffness when straightening or bending the finger. The tendon lining is like a tunnel in which the tendons glide to bring about motion. Swelling of the tendon lining lessens the gliding motion of the tendons, causing pain or a 'catching' feeling when you try to flex your finger and the finger may become locked (stuck in a bent position).

  • The causes of trigger finger are not always clear although they may include rheumatoid arthritis, gout and diabetes. Injury to the palm or base of the finger may also cause trigger finger.

  • The symptoms of trigger finger include:

    • A nodule (swollen lump) at the base of the finger
    • Ache at the base of the finger
    • Tightness at the base of the finger
    • Triggering or locking when opening or closing the fingers – when the finger begins to trigger or lock (stuck in a bent position), there may be pain felt in the middle of the finger or thumb
  • Treatment usually starts with non-surgical options, such as:

    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
    • Reducing the frequency of times that you grip things
    • Steroid injections
    • Wearing a splint

    If the symptoms persist, you may wish to undergo surgery.

    Trigger finger surgery is a minor procedure with a high success rate, and can be done as day surgery under local anaesthesia. The goal of surgery is for you to regain the normal use of your hand and experience relief from the pain of a trigger finger.

    Consult an orthopaedic surgeon to determine the treatment method most suitable for you.

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