Trigger finger is a painful condition that results in catching or locking when bending the fingers or thumb. The cause of trigger finger is due to inflammation of our tendons (muscles that connect muscle to bone) in our fingers and thumb. The tendons typically glide smoothly up and down our joints in the hand thanks to a membrane (synovium) that keeps them lubricated. However overuse of the tendon can cause inflammation and scarring of this membrane that can lead to snapping or popping movements when opening and closing the fingers/thumb.
Pain associated with trigger finger can affect any finger but most commonly in the third or fourth. Patients present with either painless clicking with movement that can progress to painful catching or popping at the knuckle or distal finger joints. It is more common for symptoms of stiffness and swelling to occur in the morning. In some cases there are loss of range of motion, panful nodules and fingers locked in a flexed position.
Most often, people experience trigger finger from repeated movement or forceful use of the fingers and thumb.
Trigger finger is more common in people who relate to the following:
- Women ages 40-60
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Engage in repetitive thumb and finger movements (farmer, musician, writer)
A Physiotherapist will perform an examination to ensure the problem and proper diagnosis is obtained. A thorough history will be obtained with specific special tests to help rule out any other possible diagnoses. Following the examination, a detailed plan will be outlined to help reverse and manage the symptoms of trigger finger.
If you think you might have trigger finger, contact us and make an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists today!