Trigger finger or thumb describes a common condition of the digits where a thickening or inflammation of the flexor tendon leads to locking or catching as you bend and straighten out your finger.
As the thickening in the flexor tendon becomes more established the finger or thumb can get stuck in the bent position. Early treatment is rest and avoidance of irritating activities. NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) can help with early inflammation. More established thickening usually responds better to a steroid injection in the tendon sheath. This can be done once or twice and usually on the same day in our office. We use special techniques to decrease the discomfort of the injection.
If the condition persists a simple surgical procedure, trigger finger release will free up the tendon. We do this procedure in the comfort of our office. We use local anesthetics, and an oral sedative can be given if requested. A small incision is made and the sheath is incised to allow more room for the tendon. The skin is closed, a light dressing applied and you can use the hand lightly immediately. After 3 days you can remove the dressings and allow the wound to be exposed. As the wound heals over 1-2 weeks you can increase activities with the hand. We remove the stitches in our office at 10-14 days after the procedure. Recurrence and complications are rare.