Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis. It is a disorder of the hand which the tendon(s) used to flex the finger is inflamed. Normally, those tendons are wrapped around by a tube structure named the tendon sheath. When the tendon is inflamed and has swollen up, the space between the tendon and its sheath is narrowed, thereby causing an abnormal gliding mechanism of the tendon.
A classic symptom of trigger finger is that the patient will complain of their finger being ‘locked’ in a bent position after flexion and will require the use of the opposite hand to help straighten out the affected finger. There might be some resistance or a pop sound when the affected finger is passively extended, resembling the pulling of a trigger, hence it comes the origin of the name. Trigger finger usually happens at the middle finger or ring finger at the joint between the finger and the palm. Research shows that trigger finger affects women six times more frequently than men, and this disorder is most commonly seen in people who are 40-60 years old. Although the definitive cause of trigger finger is unknown, trigger finger is correlated with repetitive load to the tendon or diabetes.
Physiotherapy is one of the conservative treatments for trigger finger with mild to moderate symptoms. Physiotherapy interventions such as splinting, electrical/heat modalities, and education on modifications of activities might be used.
If the symptoms are severe and surgical intervention is warranted. Post-surgery physiotherapy is also suggested for optimal function of the hand, as our hands play a critical role in our day to day activities. Physiotherapy treatment will likely include stretching exercises to improve range of motion, finger exercises focus on rebuilding strength, and other modalities to decrease swelling.
The post is not supposed to replace any medical advice. If you are experiencing any pain, please consult a therapist as soon as possible. You may contact us or make an appointment at 905-771-8882 or firstname.lastname@example.org, we are more than happy to help!
Kamienski, M. C. (2013). Disorders of the hand: a case study approach. Orthopaedic Nursing, 32(6), 299-304.
Matthews, A., Smith, K., Read, L., Nicholas, J., & Schmidt, E. (2019). Trigger finger: An overview of the treatment options. Journal of the American Academy of PAs, 32(1), 17-21.
Ryzewicz, M., & Wolf, J. M. (2006). Trigger digits: principles, management, and complications. The Journal of hand surgery, 31(1), 135-146.