Trigger Finger

What is Trigger Finger?


Trigger Finger is a very common hand disorder presenting with pain at the base of one of the fingers often accompanied by clicking or locking of the same digit.  While it can effect any of the digits it is most commonly seen in the ring finger, long finger and thumb.  The condition results from swelling of the lining of the flexor (bending) tendons as well as thickening of the tunnel the tendons pass through.  If untreated the condition may persist for months, and lead to finger stiffness.


How is Trigger Finger treated?


An injection of steroid medication into the tendon  tunnel system provides relief in almost all cases.    Dr. Steven Shoen administers the injection in his office at the first office visit.  After several days pain resolves, although locking of the digit may persist for two or three weeks.  Patients who redevelop symptoms soon after a steroid injection should  undergo a minor surgical procedure in which the narrow tunnel is opened.


Are there risks to the Steroid Injection used to treat Trigger finger?


The steroid medication that Dr. Shoen prefers to inject is known as Kenelog.  The injection is very safe with few side affects.  Diabetic patients may note a 24 hour rise in their blood sugar following injection.


If surgery is needed, what technique does Dr. Shoen perform?


Dr Shoen typically performs this procedure  under local anesthesia with sedation.   At surgery he releases the tight portion of the tunnel through a half inch to three quarter inch incision made at one of the palm creases where the scar is easy to hide. The procedure is typically carried out at an accredited surgery center.  Following surgery patients may resume light activities immediately, and strenuous activities after three weeks.  There is minimal discomfort.


Can Trigger Finger recur after surgery?


Once the appropriate portion of the tunnel has been released the problem should resolve.  It should not recur at that finger, although it may develop at another digit.


To have your finger pain or locking evaluated at one of our two office locations ( Edison area and Monroe) call 732-632-6090.