ABC7’s The More in the Morning team spoke with Dr. Michael K. Kim, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, about trigger finger. While it occurs most often in our index finger, Dr. Kim explains the pain and locking in our fingers, and what to do about it. Trigger finger is a very common ailment. Trigger finger is a painful condition that makes your fingers or thumb catch or lock when you bend them. One who suffers from Trigger Finger might experience a painful clicking or snapping when you bend or straighten your finger or even having a locked finger that can’t be straightened.
Trigger Finger Treatment
Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are.
- Rest - Try not to move the finger or thumb. You may need to take time away from the activity that’s causing the problem. If you can’t quit, you might try padded gloves.
- Splints- Your doctor can give you one designed to keep your finger still.
- Stretching exercises - These gentle moves may ease stiffness and improve range of motion.
- NSAIDs - Your doctor may suggest over-the-counter drugs that fight inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen.
- Steroid injections - They might give you a steroid shot into the tendon sheath. It can keep your symptoms at bay for a year or more, but you could need two shots to get results.
If you have severe symptoms or if other treatments don’t work, your doctor may suggest surgery. There are two types:
- Percutaneous release - The doctor numbs the palm of your hand and inserts a needle into the area around the affected tendon. They move the needle and your finger to loosen the tendon and make it work smoothly. This usually happens in the Dr. Kim's office.
- Tenolysis or trigger finger release surgery - Dr. Kim will make a small cut at the base of the finger and opens the sheath around the tendon. This usually happens in an operating room.
Dr. Kim performs trigger finger release under local anesthesia. A small incision is made at the base of the affected finger and the pulley is released. The cut is stitched and a light dressing applied. It is encouraged that you start moving your finger almost immediately after surgery. You should be able to return to normal activities as soon as you feel comfortable.