October 24, 2019

Paul Nielsen, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon

What Are the Symptoms of Trigger Finger?

  • Catching of the fingers as you bend them down
    • Sometimes severe enough that it locks bend down
  • Pain in the palm at the base of the fingers
  • Soreness with gripping or heavy use of the hand

What Causes Trigger Fingers?

  • The flexor tendon that bends the finger down travels through tunnels on the palm side of the finger as you bend your finger
  • The flexor tendon develops swelling from inflammation, overuse, diabetes, genetics, or unknown reasons
  • The swollen tendon catches on the tunnels as you try to bend and straighten your finger 

What Are the Treatment Options for a Trigger Finger?

  • Steroid injections around the swollen tendon reduce the swelling and eliminate catching for the majority of patients
  • Occasionally splinting the finger straight at night can help
  • Surgery involves a small incision to open the tunnel so that the tendon and finger can glide smoothly
  • The surgery is usually performed with just local anesthesia in about 10 minutes
    • No IV, no fasting, and no recovery from anesthesia medicines

What Is Recovery Like After Surgery?

  • Patients normally are in a soft dressing for a few days after surgery
  • Sutures are removed 10-14 days after surgery
  • Light use of the hand is encouraged immediately after surgery
  • Heavy use of the and is allowed about a month after surgery
  • Hand therapy is usually not required
  • Recurrence is uncommon
    • Other fingers can develop trigger fingers later, however

Recognize the symptoms of trigger finger? Feel free to call New West at 308-865-2570 to make an appointment with Dr. Nielsen today. No referral required.


About the Author

Paul Nielsen, MD is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand & upper extremity surgery at New West Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery in Kearney, NE.


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