Do you ever have your finger locked or clicking when bending it? Or feel your finger snaps when straightening it ? (Like a trigger being pulled and released)
Be careful! You may be developing a Trigger Finger !!
⭐ What is Trigger Finger?
Trigger finger is also called stenosing tenosynovitis. It is a condition when your flexor tendon is inflamed and swollen, which narrows the space in flexor tendon sheet, resulting in the “Trigger Sign” (clicking, locking or snapping) when bending and extending the affected finger.
✨ In severe trigger finger, it is common to find a bump (nodule) at the base of affected finger, also having excruciating pain when moving the finger!
⭐ Risk Factors
✨ Repeated Gripping. (Especially Hook Grip)
✨ Certain Health Conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.
✨ Women has higher risk than men.
✨ High Risk Occupation: Homemaker, Seamstress and Secretary.
⭐ Tip 1: Resting and Protection
✨ Trigger finger brace / orthosis
Once you found your finger is triggering, it is critical to STOP gripping with the affected finger!
A trigger finger brace or custom made orthosis helps to restrict finger bending at the big knuckle level, which provides proper resting for the inflamed tendon to clam down.
✨ Assistive Device
In addition to resting the affected finger with a finger brace, it is also essential to protect your finger by utilizing assistive device.
For example, a jar opener or dycem can be great tools when opening a tight jar, which prevents irritating the flexor tendons from overusing. The jar designed with a buttoned lid also saves your fingers from power gripping!
⭐ Tip 2: Manual Therapy
Manual therapy such as soft tissue mobilization and deep tissue massage can be used as an adjunct therapy to release the tightness of surrounding tissue. One research even indicated that Graston Technique may help to treat trigger thumb!
In my clinical experience, I found the manual therapy is more effective when targeting the area of palmar intrinsic muscles (red circle area).
* The main reason of working on palmar intrinsic muscles is to release the tension around A1 pulley area, which may help reducing the symptoms of stenosis. Direct deep tissue mobilization on the nodule can result in worsening trigger finger!
⭐ Tip 3: Therapeutic Exercises
“Make sure there’s NO TRIGGER SIGN when you are doing the following exercises ! “
✨ Finger Stretching Exercises (10 reps x 3 times /day)
It is important to stretch your flexor tendons and intrinsic muscles, also make sure to hold your stretch for 15 seconds.
✨ Joint Blocking Exercises (10 reps x 3 times /day)
Blocking exercise helps to move your finger joints (Distal Interphalangeal & Proximal Interphalangeal Joints) individually, promoting flexor tendon gliding.
✨ Tendon Gliding Exercises (10 reps x 3 times /day)
In summary, Proper Resting / Protection (the most important), Manual Therapy and Therapeutic Exercises are the top three therapeutic approaches for trigger fingers. Cortisone injection or surgical intervention should only be considered if conservative hand therapy failed to relieve your symptoms! 😎
* De la Parra-Márquez ML1, Tamez-Cavazos R, Zertuche-Cedillo L, Martínez-Pérez JJ, Velasco-Rodríguez V, Cisneros-Pérez V. (2008). Risk factors associated with trigger finger. Case-control study. Cir Cir. , 76(4), 323-327.
* Colbourn J, Heath N, Manary S, Pacifico D. (2008). Effectiveness of Splinting for the Treatment of Trigger Finger. Journal of Hand Therapy. 21(4):36-343.
Andrew believes rehab-related knowledge should be easy to learn and follow at home, because "knowledge is power only when we can share it" !