Treating Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger, what is it?

Trigger finger is a painful condition of  hand that causesfingers to catch in a bent or (flexed) position. The proper medical term is StenosingTenosynovitis It is most commonly seen in the index finger or middle fingerbut can also happens in the thumb. It isoften uncomfortable and frequently the affected finger becomes painfully locked.The problem begins with inflammation and localized swelling in tendons of themuscles that bend the fingers. Forcefulgripping and/or repetitive gripping are the primary causes of trigger finger.The repetitive strain creates wear and tear. This creates swelling that narrows the sheath the tendon runs through causingit to become stuck and lock the finger in a bent position. The longer thiscondition continues the longer it takes to recover making early interventioncritical.

Who is likely to get trigger finger?

People who do a great deal ofrepetitive work with their hands often develop this Trigger Finger. Prolonged gripping  in work with power tools and sports or the repetitive motions of musiciansalso commonly seen produce it. Sports where this is common are rock climbing, paddlesports and racquet sports. Trigger Finger typically affects women more frequently and age of onset is generally over forty years ofage. Gout, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral vascular disease and diabetes allcan contribute to the development of this condition.

How do we treat trigger finger?

First priority is to eliminating orreduce causative factors. Limited immobilization may be helpful but, because itlimits movement, it limits the lymphatic circulation in the area. Webegin immediately with using Active Release Technique and/or instrument basedsoft tissue therapy to reduce the tension in the affected muscles. This is asimportant as treating the painful site, as the unaddressed muscular tension inthe main part of the muscle will contribute to the return of symptoms. Additionally,manual lymphatic drainage massage can be used to encourage fluid to drain fromthe area. In both of these techniques it typically involves working along theentire muscle and tendon (well up into the forearm).

It is very important to note than thistreatment is always to the patients tolerance. It is widely believed that more pressure is better. Not so. The primary objective is to reduce localized swelling and to lengthenthe involved tissues so the condition resolves. This can be done quite gently and withoutcreating the pain, inflammation and swelling produced from heavy pressure.

Trigger finger is a condition thatcan happen to anyone. It does not alwayshave to result in surgery. Part twoof this post will be about self care strategies you can use to keep Triggerfinger from coming back.

Look for Trigger Finger part 2 stretches and exercises

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