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What is a Trigger Finger?

Trigger Finger is a condition also called stenosing (the area for the structure gets too narrow) tenosynovitis (inflammation of the tendon and the tissue around it, the synovium).

The muscles that control our hands and fingers are in our forearms. The muscles generate a pulling force, and deliver that force to the bones by the tendons that pull on the bones. The tendons are kept in their place by a sheath, and there are belt loops, or pulleys, that keep the tendons in the right place. These pulleys have a beginning, or an edge.

The symptoms of a trigger finger can develop when the tendon rubs against the edge of the pulley (the belt loop/tunnel for the tendon). This rubbing can create a small injury in the tendon. To repair that injury, the tendon at that spot gets a little inflamed and swollen. Now with this swelling, that the part of the tendon is even bigger, and it becomes harder for the tendon to fit in the space of the tunnel. The triggering sensation occurs when the swollen part of the tendon pops through the belt loop/pulley, or when it pops out.

The release when this pop occurs, which can be painful, gives a quick motion like when pulling a trigger…hence the name.

The treatments include:
–anti-inflammatory medicines
–mechanical rest (splint)
–cortisone injection
–surgery, to release the belt loop, usually done through small incision on an outpatient basis

This problem can be treated at Orthopaedic Associates by Dr. Lawrence, our upper extremity specialist.

If you have finger pain like described above, or any other upper extremity issue, feel free to make an appointment with Dr. Lawrence!

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