Management of trigger finger

Trigger finger is a condition that develops when inflammation accumulates within a tendon of a finger and causes it to involuntarily flex. If serious, the affected finger is fixed in a flexed position and sometimes produces a snapping sound when forced to straighten.

People performing repetitive gripping face a high risk of developing trigger finger. Conditions such as arthritis and diabetes are more likely to develop trigger finger. Women with ages 40-60 are susceptible as well. The condition usually affects the thumb, middle finger and ring finger.

Symptoms of trigger finger

Trigger finger

A clicking sound can be heard when moving the finger

  • A clicking sound can be heard when moving the finger
  • A tender nodule can be felt at the base of the affected finger
  • Difficulty in making the affected finger straight

Treatment

  • Take plenty of rest, avoid performing repetitive gripping of the hand and flexing the thumb or forefinger.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected finger for at least 10-15 minutes every hour until the swelling is lessened. Wrap the pack with a towel and apply on the affected tendon. The cold lessens the swelling and pain.
  • Compress the ice pack against the finger or hand using a bandage or elastic support to control the inflammation. Avoid wrapping it too tight to avoid disrupting the blood circulation in the area and worsen the condition.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin to lessen pain and inflammation of the affected finger.
  • Perform gentle stretching for the trigger finger.
  • In a bathtub filled with warm water, mix a cup of Epsom salt until it is totally dissolved and then soak the body including the hand for at least 10-15 minutes after stretching to lessen tension and pain.
  • Seek the help of the physical therapist for hand.
  • Wear a finger splint at night to prevent unnecessary movements and keep the finger in an extended position while sleeping. Splint the affected finger for at least 6 weeks. During the day, remove the splint to perform light stretches or gentle massages to prevent making the area stiff.

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