Does your finger ever get “stuck” or feel locked up? It may happen during the simplest everyday tasks that used to be second nature– like tying a shoe or opening a can. Perhaps you hear some “clicking,” feel some discomfort, and then...it’s locked.
If you’ve experienced this pesky phenomenon, you may have a condition that’s commonly referred to as trigger finger.
Though it’s not pleasant to manage, the good news is that it normally responds very well to conservative care. If you’re seeking help for this condition, this article is for you. We’re getting into exactly what trigger finger is, what causes it, and what you can do about it– starting today.
What Is Trigger Finger, Anyway?
Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition in which a finger (or fingers) gets locked or stuck in a bent down position. When your finger bends or straightens, it often lets out a loud snapping noise. This loud snap has been compared to a trigger being pulled and released, thus the name “trigger finger.”
Trigger finger is essentially an inflammation issue. When too much inflammation builds within a given finger, it has a narrowing effect on the space around the sheath that protects the tendon in the finger, effectively increasing pressure within an already small finger joint. If you’re suffering from trigger finger, you’ll experience finger stiffness (that tends to be more pronounced in the morning), the classic finger “catch” or “freeze,” and occasionally even a small tender bump at the base of your affected finger or fingers.
Common Causes Of Trigger Finger
Trigger finger can arise from activities, occupations, or even hobbies that require repeated gripping. Construction workers, tennis players, sewers, avid gardeners– beware! These activities all rely on grip strength and dexterous movement. When repeated in excess over time, they can aggravate the finger joint(s) and become the beginnings of this condition.
Effective Treatment For Trigger Finger
Though some more serious cases may call for intervention with medication or even occasionally surgery, most cases of trigger finger respond very well to consistent conservative care. Keep in mind that the earlier you start your treatment, the better! As trigger finger progresses or goes untreated, it does become more serious; if you think that you have even the start of this condition, it’s best to begin treating it immediately.
Rest: the oldest recovery tool out there! It may sound simple, but resting the aggravated area can help calm down particularly bad trigger finger flares, and give your finger a chance to recoup and heal on its own. In particular, be sure to avoid any activities that require repetitive gripping. Don’t underestimate the healing power of your body when you give it the appropriate space with rest.
One challenging factor in resting trigger finger is simply breaking habits. Because trigger finger can be set off by typical everyday tasks, it’s easy to forget that you’re trying to rest your inflamed finger when you reach to grip that stubborn jar of pickles. A splint can serve as a real-time reminder as you’re about to slip up! Additionally, a splint immobilizes the finger in a more complete way than simply avoiding its use, making the resting phase more effective.
Gentle Exercise And Stretching
Set aside 10-20 minutes daily for some finger fitness! In all seriousness, this small deposit of time will pay big dividends when you approach these exercises with consistency and diligence. Try incorporating the following exercises into your day:
Towel grasp: Place a small hand towel on a countertop, and use your fingers to scrunch and grasp the towel into a ball, as tightly as you can. Hold here for 5-10 seconds, and release slowly. Repeat up to 10 times.
Basic finger stretch: Place your hand, palm down on a countertop. Using your other hand, lift just the affected finger up until you feel a good stretch. Hold it in this position for several seconds before releasing it back to the countertop. Repeat 5-10 times.
Finger pinch and spread: For this exercise, you’ll need a rubber band or a hair tie. Pinch together the tips of your fingers and thumb on your hand and place the band around your fingers, just above the knuckles. Keeping the band around your fingers, straighten and move your fingers away from your thumb until you can feel tension on the band. Return to the starting position and repeat 5-10 times.
Self-massage: A little bit of massaging from your alternate hand can help provide real relief. Using gentle but firm pressure, massage the affected area in small circles.
Of course, your ability to perform these exercises will largely depend on the severity of your condition, coupled with how long you’ve been working on your rehabilitation exercises. Always use pain as an indicator, and if any of these movements cause a sudden spike in pain, stop immediately.
Chiropractic Treatment For Trigger Finger
Another great modality to use in your treatment of trigger finger is chiropractic care. A chiropractic practitioner uses gentle adjustments of the spine and extremities to help to realign your body, decrease pressure, and provide real relief to your system. These adjustments allow your entire body to restore proper function, which is a huge win in your journey back to full health. And, when you’re managing an injury with a more intricate location– like your finger– the adjustments of the extremities in particular can help to effectively treat the root of the pain.
Your practitioner will be able to support your specific needs by taking a personalized approach to each session, and will meet you at your unique starting point.
It’s time to put trigger finger behind you for good. Jump-start your healing process now.
Schedule an appointment online or call (949) 649-8790.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.