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Trigger Finger Specialist in Atlanta, GA

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

A trigger finger is a problem that causes the finger to lock in place in a bent position, and then catch when it bends backward. The catch happens because the tendon slips around a pulley, stiffening the finger. The stiffness of trigger fingers is sometimes relieved by splinting and therapy, injecting steroids in the palm around the base of your knuckle, or surgery.
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Schedule your appointment with the team of doctors at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, located in Atlanta and Marietta, Georgia, to begin your recovery. Typically, we will try non-invasive treatment options first before considering surgery.

About Trigger Finger

Most people who develop trigger finger are between 30 and 60, but it can occur at any age. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, women are more likely to suffer from the condition than men.

Trigger finger is more common in people with the following conditions: 

  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is also occasionally present (Trigger finger may also be a complication associated with carpal tunnel surgery)

In some cases, the symptom can be a sign of a severe medical condition (such as advanced diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis) that may need to be treated with more aggressive treatments such as medication.

What Are the Symptoms of Trigger Finger?

The symptoms of trigger finger include pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more fingers, suddenly waking up to a pinched finger feeling at night or during overuse. The condition tends to be associated with increased pain and swelling on gripping.

The squeezing of small objects can also cause pain. It is unusual for the affected finger to lock in place, but if it does, this too may cause severe pain and loss of function. 

The symptoms may worsen with time. However, they may go away if not aggravated by overuse or excessive gripping (like raking leaves).

How Is Trigger Finger Evaluated?

To diagnose trigger finger, your hand specialist will first need to collect a detailed medical history from the patient and perform a physical examination. Then, we will inspect the joint surfaces of the finger and thumb and check if they have been damaged or worn down.

We will also measure the movement of your fingers and see if they are in their normal range of motion. Another important diagnostic tool is an X-ray, which will show inflammation, swelling, arthritis, or any other abnormalities that may be present in your finger joints.

What Are the Treatment Options for Trigger Finger?

There are several options available and used to treat trigger finger, including:

  • Injection therapy
  • Splinting
  • Surgery

 

Injection Therapy

Injection therapy may be effective in treating trigger fingers. A local anesthetic and steroid are injected into the affected finger.

The injection can reduce the pain and swelling associated with the trigger finger and enable the patient to move the finger freely.

Splinting

Splinting may be effective in the treatment of trigger fingers. This is accomplished by wearing a splint at night to prevent flexion at the affected joint, reducing pain, and allowing the patient’s hand to rest during sleep.

Surgery

Trigger finger release surgery is considered for patients who have not responded to other treatment methods or if the condition has progressed to the point where it is causing considerable impairment. This means that the patient has significant trouble performing certain functions.

There is a very reliable minor procedure that can fix a trigger finger and provide pain relief. 

A small incision in the palm is made to expose the sheath (which resembles an eyelet) that is responsible for the catching of the tendon. Cutting the sheath releases the tendon, allowing it to move freely once again. This hand surgery relieves pain and prevents the finger from locking. 

To ensure the best results, please be sure to follow your hand specialist’s recommendations for physical therapy and exercise. 

How Can I Prevent Aggravating My Trigger Finger?

To prevent aggravating your trigger finger, avoid repeated use of the particular hand or finger, especially in an overused or abused manner. If you experience a trigger finger, you should consider visiting our practice promptly.

When Should I Consult a Trigger Finger Doctor?

If you have symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of this condition, give us a call or schedule an appointment with the team of doctors at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow in Atlanta or Marietta today to discuss the treatment options available to you.

Medically reviewed by

Randall Alexander, MD