What is Trigger Finger?

The flexor tendons of the hand are surrounded by a protective sheath, that allows fingers to flex and bend. When the tendon’s sheath becomes irritated or inflamed, it interferes with the gliding motion of the tendon through the sheath. This can cause blocking and subsequent inflammation. This blockage usually occurs in the narrower area of the sheath called the pulley. Sometimes a nodule (lump) may form in the tendon and further contribute to the blockage.

In concrete terms, this means that the affected finger snaps and hurts when it is extended. Sometimes the finger remains blocked in flexion or complete flexion is no longer possible. Often there is pain at the base of the finger.

What are the symptoms of Trigger Finger?

Commonly reported symptoms associated with trigger finger include the following:

  • Bent finger suddenly pops out and straightens
  • Finger movement creates a “popping” or “clicking” sound or sensation
  • Finger feels stiff and sore
  • Finger becomes bent with inability to straighten
  • Symptoms are worse in morning

Causes of trigger finger can include the following:

  • Repetitive Motion: Individuals who perform heavy, repetitive hand and wrist movements with prolonged gripping at work or play are believed to be at high risk for developing trigger finger.
  • Medical Conditions: Conditions associated with developing trigger finger include hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and certain infections such as TB.
  • Gender: Trigger finger is more common in females than males.

What are the procedure techniques and scars

The initial treatment of trigger finger is nonsurgical: it combines resting the joint and anti-inflammatory medication. If symptoms do not improve, cortisone injections may be required.

Surgery is only performed as a last resort in case the cortisone injections (typically three) do not work or if the condition returns.

  • Anaesthesia:
    Local
  • Duration:
    15 minutes
  • Pain level:
    2/10
  • Recovery time:
    2 to 6 weeks
  • Resumption of physical activities:
    6 weeks

Procedure details

Dr Boudana will be able to diagnose a trigger finger by talking with you about your symptoms and examining your hand. Typically, x-rays or other tests are not needed.

During the exam, Dr Boudana will look for:

  • Tenderness over the flexor tendon sheath in the palm of your hand
  • Thickening or swelling of the tendon sheath
  • Triggering when you bend and straighten your finger

The surgery is performed under local anaesthesia. An incision of about 1 cm to 3 cm is made at the base of the finger to cut the part of the tendon sheath called the pulley, allowing a better gliding of the tendon and a release of the blockage.

The incision is then typically closed with absorbable stitches and a non-adhesive dressing is applied.

After the surgery, you will receive a personalized follow-up. Our nurses will also be available to you.

You will be given a postoperative instruction sheet when you are discharged as well as a prescription for pain medication.

Results

The finger may be sore for a few days after the procedure, which may make it difficult for you to see your full results right away. Once the finger heals, you should see significant improvement in the movement of your finger. If your finger had been debilitated for some time, you might need physiotherapy to help you regain full strength and function of the treated finger. Surgery is often the only way to provide long-term, even permanent relief for this condition.

Stenosing tenosynovitis is a crippling condition that can leave you without the ability to use your hand normally in some cases. If conservative treatments do not offer the relief you are hoping for, surgery can provide the long-lasting, dramatic restoration you need to regain full function of your hand and an improved cosmetic appearance.

Ready for get rid of your hand pain?

Schedule your personal or virtual consultation with Dr. David Boudana.

During your consultation, Dr. Boudana will take the time to address your specific goals and to discuss your treatment options. He will determine if the Dupuytren’s contracture surgery is right for you and review the results that can be realistically achieved.