Is Trigger Finger?
Trigger Finger is becoming a common, yet quite serious problem among many
individuals, just as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has been in the past and still
is. Although Carpal Tunnel has received all the media hype, Trigger Finger is affecting millions of Americans each year, causing lost time from work,
rehabilitation and often long-term disability, resulting in millions of
man-hours and billions of dollars lost to the business, government and healthcare
So the question arises; is Trigger Finger a disease or is it a result
of repetitive use or direct trauma to the affected finger or fingers? Many
physicians would like people to think it is a disease so they can prescribe
medications and perform surgery. But invasive methods are often not the
solution to disease or injury, but instead, the application of sound
What are the Telltale Signs and Symptoms of Trigger Finger?
Trigger Finger can effect any and all fingers as well as any of the MP,
PIP and DIP joints of the fingers although it usually comes in a couple
of basic forms: The first is where the distal joint of the finger
is bowed into a flexed position. This form of tenosynovitis does not
cause the finger to lock into the palm of the hand, and although it can
be manually straightened with force, it goes right back to the bowed
second type of Trigger Finger is the most common, and that is the locking
of a finger or fingers into the palm of the hand. The affected finger
can be flexed downward but as the finger is straightened, it either stays
in the locked-down position or quickly snaps and jerks back into the extended
position. This snapping or jerking can be painless or painful, depending
upon the severity of the condition. If the finger locks in the flexed
position and cannot extend on its own, it can be extended with force,
generally using the opposing hand.
What is Trigger Finger and Why Do I have
The finger’s flexor tendons are secured in place by a series of ligaments
called "pulleys". These “pulleys” form a tunnel so
that when the flexor muscles are contracted, the tendons can move along
the bone in a straight line. In order to make sure these tendons travel
in a smooth manner, the body produces and coats the flexor tendons with
synovial fluid, allowing the tendons to glide through the tunnel without
The problem occurs when a flexor tendon becomes damaged via direct trauma
or repetitive stress, creating micro-tears in the tendon that result in
swelling and accumulation of scar tissue as it heals. When the damaged
area is continually stressed, it keeps accumulating scar tissue to repair
itself, creating a nodule or fibrotic adhesion. As this area continues
to generate scar tissue, it becomes larger, causing increased friction as
it attempts to pass through the pulley system each time the fingers are
Even if the area of injury on the tendon has completely healed,
but has a nodule / adhesion on it, each time the finger is flexed and extended,
it is re-irritated and the swelling increases causing the nodule / adhesion
to enlarge and lock the finger into the palm of the hand. The reason the
nodule / adhesion will pass through the pulley system as the finger is flexed
and not extended is that the nodule / adhesion is smaller on the front and
larger on the back. This causes it to move through the pulley, but
become stuck as the finger is extended.
Trigger Finger can also be caused by the following medical conditions:
*Other contributors/factors of Trigger Finger are Rheumatoid Arthritis
and partial tendon lacerations
Trigger Finger may also be caused by an infection of the synovium, resulting
in the scarring and formation of a nodule on the tendon. Trigger Finger
can also be caused by a congenital defect that forms a nodule inside
of the tendon. The condition is not usually noticeable until the infant
begins to use its hands.
Treatment(s) for Trigger Finger:
Trigger finger can sometimes be treated with rest, activity modification
and oral anti-inflammatory medications, or in more extreme instances,
invasive procedures such as steroid injections and surgery are utilized.
The most optimal measure in cases where the disorder is caused by direct
trauma or repetitive overuse is the use of conservative therapy utilizing
stretches and exercises to address the actual cause of the disorder,
allowing the tendon sheath to return to its normal, pain-free condition.
allowing the area to heal, then initiating specific Trigger Finger stretches and Trigger finger exercises to break down the nodule / adhesion on the tendon as well as stretch and
thin it, the tendon will glide freely through the pulley system without
causing irritation to the synovial sheath, thereby eliminating the
cyclic irritation, selling and scar tissue build-up that occurs.
Successful Treatment for Trigger Finger Syndrome:
Author: Jeff P. Anliker, LMT, is a therapist and inventor
of products that prevent and treat carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive
strain injuries without surgery or other invasive methods. BSI ‘s
Reduce Inflammation - Be sure that the acute phase of
injury is over and no visible swelling is present.
Stretches - Use passive and active stretches on the
affected finger to help thin the tendon.
Flextend / Restore Exercises and Stretches -
Immediately follow the stretches with active strengthening exercises