Is one of your fingers beginning to get stuck in the bent position? Perhaps you can straighten it back out if you do so with your other hand, but as soon as you let it go, it takes on a bent stance again. What you're probably suffering from is a condition known as trigger finger. It occurs when the tendons in your finger become inflamed and irritated, causing them to shorten. Here's a closer look at this rather common condition and what you can do about it.
What causes trigger finger?
Trigger finger gets its name from the fact that it's common in people who shoot guns. However, it can occur in anyone who uses their finger in a repetitive way while gripping an object. If your work or hobbies include operating a joystick, squeezing a lever, or constantly pressing a button, this may be the culprit. People also develop trigger finger after a lot of knitting or crocheting, or after operating a power tool. It's more likely to occur if you have arthritis, gout, or another condition that already affects your joints, but it can certainly occur in the absence of these diseases, too.
What are the symptoms of trigger finger?
In addition to your finger refusing to stay straight, trigger finger can also cause:
- A snapping sound when you do straighten the finger manually
- Uncomfortable stretching sensations when you straighten the finger
- Eventually, the finger locking into the bent position permanently
What should you do if you think you have trigger finger?
If you are just beginning to notice signs of this condition and you're pretty sure it's due to some repetitive motion you were just engaging in, then you might be able to treat the condition at home without the help of a doctor. Take time off from the repetitive activity, and apply ice to your hand a few times a day to bring down the swelling in the tendon.
If your symptoms have been lingering for a while, or if the rest-and-ice treatment does not work, contact an orthopedic doctor. They may recommend treatments such as:
- Wearing a splint during the day to keep your finger straight
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications
- Undergoing steroid injections into the affected tendon
When the treatments above are not effective, surgery is sometimes recommended. The tendon will be severed and lengthened, which will allow you to straighten your finger once again. You may need to wear a splint for a few months after surgery so that the tendons don't shorten again. For more information, contact a business such as Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.