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What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger is a painful condition caused by the inflammation or scarring of the tendon sheath around the tendons in the finger that permit you to make a fist.  Inflammation or scarring cause constriction on the tendon causing the fingers to snap or lock as the tendon tries to glide through a narrow tunnel.

What symptoms do I experience

with trigger finger?

Trigger finger is a “snapping” or “locking” condition of any of the digits of the hand when one attempts to open or close the hand.  These symptoms often occur with excessive gripping or when engaged in repetitive movements of the hands.

What cause trigger finger?

Trigger finger is typically caused by repetitive trauma to the finger such as with activities that requires repetitively gripping or straining of the hand.

How do I find out if I have

trigger finger?

Trigger finger is a clinical diagnosis meaning there is no tests to perform to access whether you have the condition or not.  The snapping sensation felt in the palm when trying to open the hand, tenderness in the palm and or locking of the finger when gripping items results in the diagnosis of trigger finger.

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What can I expect if I choose to delay and/or not have surgery?

You may experience a progression of your current symptoms and with severe progression, you may experience permanent joint changes.  It is recommended that patients have surgery as soon as their schedule permits to prevent further deterioration.

How long will it be until my hand function recovers completely?

10-14 days is required for the incision to completely heal.  However, you can begin using your hands for light activities 1-2 days following surgery.

What can I do to help with my recovery after surgery?

To help with the recovery and resolution of symptoms, you should try to use your hands as much as possible after surgery.  This will prevent scar formation and continuous easy gliding of the tendon after surgery.

Please click on the links below for post-op instructions

Trigger Finger at Canadian Plastic Surgery Centre

What is the management for trigger finger?

Treatment of trigger finger includes the use of steroid injections which reduces the inflammation and the narrowing of the tunnel and/or through surgical release of tendon by opening up the tendon sheath (the tunnel) of the involved digits.  This prevents the rubbing of the tendon and the locking/snapping of the inflamed tendon in the tunnel.

How soon would you recommend surgery?

Conservative management including steroid injections should be attempted before surgery.  It is recommended that 3 attempts of steroid injections per finger be made before progressing to surgical management.  Surgery should be performed at your convenience as treatment for this condition is not emergent but earlier treatment will limit the discomfort you feel from the triggering. 

However, if your trigger finger has progressed to a permanent locked position or if it prevents you from using your hand, it is recommended that surgery be performed as soon as possible as continuous locking can cause chronic changes to your joints and permanent damage.

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