Trigger finger occurs as a result of an enlargement or swelling in a nodule in one of the flexor tendons in the palm. The enlarged nodule can then prevent the passing of the tendon through the tunnels in the hand, resulting in a decrease in motion and catching or locking of the finger.
Treatment is usually a single corticosteroid (cortisone) injection. This is curative in over ninety percent of cases except in diabetic patients where the long-term cure rate is only fifty percent. If the injection is not successful or is recurrent, then a quick procedure is done under local anesthesia to open the tunnel.
Frequently asked questions
Q: What causes a trigger finger?
A: The thickening or swelling associated with this issue is usually caused by repetitive pressure and/or repetitive digital motion. Also trauma to the palm may also cause sufficient swelling of the tendon.
Q: Will the problem return after the injection?
A: This can frequently be prevented with proper changes in habits or tools that originally caused the issue.
Q: Is the injection dangerous?
A: The effects that some people associate with cortisone, weight gain, etc., are not caused by the local injection. Diabetic patients may see a small elevation in levels for 24-48 hours after an injection. Overall this option is very safe.
Q: How many injections can I receive?
A: Up to three injections in the same area is generally considered to be the maximum. If the condition persists, then more injections likely will not help.