Have you heard of a condition called trigger finger or trigger thumb? For all those who haven't, it is a kind of stenosing tenosynovitis, where the sheath around a finger or thumb tendon swells up or a nodule is formed on the tendon. This results in having difficulty to straighten the finger once it is bent and on movement a soft crackling sound is heard. In this case, when the affected finger unlocks, it flips back suddenly and looks like a trigger has been released on a gun; thus the name trigger finger.
The cause for trigger finger is not clearly known. This condition is more common among the women than the men. People aged between 40 to 60 years are more prone to this condition. The condition is also common among people suffering from medical problems like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
This condition may affect more than one finger at a time, usually the thumb, ring finger and middle finger. This condition is not a dangerous one and the patient can decide if he/she wants to go for a surgical treatment or a non-surgical one. However, if the finger is in a bent state, the surgical process is recommended to avoid permanent stiffness of the finger.
The Surgical Process
The treatment for the trigger finger is a simple surgery that is performed under local anesthesia. The surgeon performing the operation will be cutting the sheath that is disturbing the tendon of the finger.
The aim of the surgical procedure is to widen the opening of the tunnel for the tendon to slide through it conveniently without any problems. The surgeon makes a small cut in the palm of the patient and performs the surgery through it or sometimes with just the tip of a needle. Normally, right after the surgery the fingers can be moved.
What happens after the surgery?
Post surgery, there may be some soreness in the palm but it is nothing to worry about. Elevation of the hand after surgery will help decrease the pain as well as the swelling. After the surgery, it is very rare and unlikely for recurrent triggering to occur. However, there may be a difficulty in extending the proximal interphalangeal joint and this can continue for months.
It takes a few weeks to recover after the completion of the trigger finger surgery. Surgery can help loosen the very stiff finger of the patient.