Trigger Finger Treatment
Trigger finger can limit your manual dexterity, affecting work and everyday activities.
Dr. Gregg A. Vagner provides conservative trigger finger treatments, such as cortisone injections and simple surgery, to restore dexterity.
Find out more about the options available at our Cedar Park, TX, and Austin offices...
Conservative Treatment Can Provide Long-Lasting Relief
Cortisone InjectionsDr. Vagner prefers non-surgical treatment using cortisone injections. Most patients can restore their normal finger movement with one or two injections into the tendon sheath.
Outpatient SurgeryIf your condition does not respond to non-surgical options, Dr. Vagner may recommend surgical treatment. Surgery is performed under local anesthesia, and most patients are fully recovered in a matter of weeks. In most cases, you can expect improved movement and a restored ability to perform your usual activities.
So what can "trigger" this condition?
Will I develop trigger finger?
GenderWomen are six times more likely to develop trigger finger than men.
HealthDiabetics are more than five times as likely to develop the condition. Hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and tuberculosis can also increase your risk.
AgePeople between the ages of 40 and 60 are more likely to develop trigger finger.
But what exactly causes the disorder?
Top Causes of Trigger Finger
InflammationThe 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.
Repetitive MotionsTrigger 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.
Diagnosing the condition at our Cedar Park and Austin offices is simple...
What to Expect During Your Evaluation
If you think you might be suffering from trigger finger, getting an official diagnosis is the best way to determine what your treatment options are. Dr. Vagner can diagnose trigger finger with a thorough clinical exam. During your consultation, Dr. Vagner will review your symptoms with you and closely examine your hand to determine if trigger finger is to blame for your discomfort. Tenderness, thickening, or swelling around the tendon sheaths of the hand often indicate trigger finger.
Dr. Vagner has found that placing a splint increases finger stiffness, so he will typically recommend cortisone injections or surgery to alleviate your symptoms.
You can actively work to prevent the disorder altogether...
Your Role in Preventing Trigger Finger
Avoid Certain ActivitiesYou can reduce the risk of acquiring trigger finger by avoiding activities that put strain on the tendons of your palms, including excessive computer and mobile phone use.
Stretch RegularlyGentle exercises can help maintain healthy mobility, reduce discomfort, and keep circulation flowing. Dr. Vagner is a strong advocate of patient education and can provide you with effective exercises at his Cedar Park and Austin offices to prevent the onset of trigger finger.
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.
Dr. Vagner will inject these medications directly into the tendon sheath, and they will quickly reduce inflammation.
Trigger Finger Treatment Options
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.
Gregg A. Vagner, M.D.
Dr. Vagner is a double board-certified orthopedic and hand surgeon who combines the latest research and techniques to treat the hands, wrists, and elbows. His accolades and roles in his field include:
- Distinguished Surgeon of the Year Award - Austin Area Association of Perioperative Medicine
- Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery in Perioperative Care - Dell Medical School
- Hand Surgery Consultant - University of Texas Athletic Department