Conservative Trigger Finger Treatment
Trigger finger can cause your finger or thumb to become fixed in a bent position. Because you cannot move it normally, it can limit your manual dexterity, affecting work and everyday activities. The condition is the result of inflammation in the sheath of tissues surrounding your tendon. Gregg A. Vagner, M.D. prefers to use cortisone injections as trigger finger treatment at his Austin, TX, practice. This conservative method requires no downtime, and it is typically far more effective than splints or physical therapy. If you do not respond to the injections, Dr. Vagner can also perform a simple surgery with a very quick recovery.
What Is Trigger Finger?
The tendons are cords of elastic collagen tissue that connect your muscles to your bones. The flexor tendons run from the muscles in your wrist and along your palm to your fingers. As they do, they pass through a tunnel of protective tissues called the tendon sheath. Trigger finger, or stenosing tenosynovitis, occurs when the tendon sheath is inflamed. As a result, it will narrow, limiting the movement of your tendon. Over time, continual irritation may cause nodules to form, further affecting finger motions.
Dr. Vagner will inject these medications directly into the tendon sheath, and they will quickly reduce inflammation.
Trigger finger often develops because of repetitive hand motions. Therefore, if you tend to make the same movements repeatedly because of your job or a hobby, you are at a higher risk for trigger finger. Additionally, the condition is more likely to develop if you are a woman. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, can further increase your risks.
Symptoms of Trigger Finger
Most commonly, trigger finger will cause your finger to be temporarily caught in a bent position. Typically, this will affect only one finger (especially the middle finger, ring finger, or thumb). Nevertheless, the condition could affect two or more digits. You may notice some pain or a popping sensation when you are able to straighten your finger. This will occur when the tendon finally breaks through the swollen area of the tendon sheath. However, in very severe cases, you may not be able to straighten your finger at all. Your symptoms will usually be more pronounced in the mornings or after long periods of inactivity.
Trigger Finger Treatment Options
Dr. Vagner can diagnose trigger finger following a thorough clinical exam. He has found that placing a splint usually increases finger stiffness. Similarly, physical therapy does not provide noticeable relief. At our practice, the first step of trigger finger treatment usually involves cortisone injections. Dr. Vagner will inject these medications directly into the tendon sheath, and they will quickly reduce inflammation. Sometimes, relief may only be temporary, and you will require a second injection. For many patients, this treatment fully restores normal finger movement.
If you do not respond after two cortisone injections, Dr. Vagner may recommend surgery. After numbing your hand, he will make a very small incision in the tendon sheath. During the recovery process, the sheath will heal with more room for the tendon to move. Recovery from this surgery is very similar to recovery from carpal tunnel surgery. You will need to wear dressings for about two days, and Dr. Vagner will remove your stitches in about 10 days. Your hand movements and ability to lift heavy objects may be limited for around two weeks. After your recovery, however, you should have greater dexterity and a much-improved quality of life.
Contact Us Today
If you are suffering from the symptoms of trigger finger, we can provide the relief you need. Contact Dr. Vagner’s office to schedule your consultation.
"I am committed to using experience, along with the latest techniques and technologies, to help my patients achieve the full function, mobility, and comfort in their hand, wrist, and arm that they experienced prior to their injury."Dr. Gregg Vagner