HomeHealth Topics A to ZTrigger Finger Causes & Treatment
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Trigger Finger Causes & Treatment

By DMG Physical & Occupational Therapy

What is Trigger Finger and its Symptoms?

Trigger finger/thumb is a painful condition that causes the finger or thumb to "get stuck" in the bent/flexed or straight position. The tendon that controls your finger/thumb is located in a sheath which it glides within, and sometimes can get swollen or inflamed. When this happens, the tendon can snap or pop as it glides through the pulley (the pulley keeps the tendons close to the bone).

What is the Cause of Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger can be caused by repetitive motions or forceful activities. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout and Diabetes can also contribute to the cause of trigger finger. Trigger finger is more common in women than men and often occurs in those aged 40-60.

How is Trigger Finger Diagnosed?

Trigger finger is often diagnosed through a physical exam with a physician. Most times the finger may be swollen, may lock in the bent position, or be stiff and painful.

What is the Treatment for Trigger Finger?

There are multiple treatment options for trigger finger.

  • The therapist may fabricate a splint to rest the finger and educate in the proper exercises to glide the tendons without popping.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed. 
  • If the finger/thumb continues to lock/snap, surgery may be recommended.
  • Cortizone injections given by a physician. 

Following surgery (if recommended), the hand therapist will guide the patient through their normal daily activities with wound care/scar management,  edema/swelling control and range of motion activities.

How do I know if I need to see an Occupational Therapist for Trigger Finger/Thumb?

If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of trigger finger described above, please discuss with your primary care physician. You will need a physician referral to receive therapy for trigger finger.



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