Trigger finger is a condition in which your thumb and one or more fingers become locked up – maybe even so tightly that they can’t move. It’s often the result of repetitive strain on the hands, such as when playing tennis, skiing, or writing. There are many causes of trigger finger, including arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Fortunately, there are a few early signs that you can look out for. If you experience these signs, you should consult an orthopedic hand specialist right away.
This symptom means that you may feel pain when you lift your fingers or grasp an object. The pain may also occur when you move your fingers away from the palm of your hand. This is usually due to swelling in the tendon sheath, a sleeve covering each tendon in the hand and wrist. These sheaths may thicken when they fill with fluid and become inflamed, leading to difficulty moving or flexing the hand.
When pressure builds up in a swollen tendon sheath, it can force its way out through an opening (a tunnel) in the middle of the sheath that lets tendons glide over one another. The sudden release of this pressure makes a popping sound and is often heard when you touch your finger to the tip of your thumb.
When you try to bend your affected finger, it may feel like something has “caught” and stopped it from moving. This may be because the tendon that moves that finger is partially trapped in its tunnel in the middle of a swollen tendon sheath. This causes mild locking every time you bend or straighten your finger – until pressure builds up so much that the tunnel can no longer contain it. This “catching” feeling can also affect other fingers and both hands, although the trigger finger usually only affects one hand at a time.
Swelling in the tendons can make them less effective at gliding seamlessly during movement. Trigger finger can cause limited movement in your fingers – or even prevent it entirely in severe cases. By pushing on your fingers with your thumb and moving them up and down, you can feel swelling at the base of each finger. Moving your fingers farther away from the palm of your hand is often painful, too.
A swollen tendon sheath may push outward and cause a protrusion at the base of your finger. Since swelling can build up behind all your fingers, this lump may occur where it meets along the palm’s side. This lump is often hard and worsens when you bend your affected fingers.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s time to schedule a consultation with one of the experienced orthopedic hand specialists at the Regional Hand Center, located in Fresno, CA. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Fill out our online contact form, and a member of our team will be in touch to schedule a consultation appointment at a time that is convenient for you.Back to All Blogs