A trigger finger is caused by a swelling of the tendon catching at the base of the finger. The cause of the swelling or nodule is usually unknown. There is rarely any arthritis & the joints are not affected.
These are clicking or locking of the finger when it bends associated with pain. It may be difficult to fully straighten the finger and require forcefully pulling straight. It may feel like the joint is dislocating. There is a tender area at the base of the finger with a nodule and clicking sensation.
What treatment is available?
Some trigger fingers do not require treatment, but persistent symptoms and pain may require treatment. The simplest treatment is injection of cortisone around the nodule. This is done in the clinic and can get rid of the problem in about 70-80% of cases. You can use the hand normally after but it can take a few weeks to respond. In a few cases a second injection may be required. Surgery may be required if the injection(s) are not successful.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is done with local anaesthetic to "freeze" the skin at the bottom of the finger. During the operation the area where the nodule is catching is released. The skin takes 10-14 days to heal but the area can remain sore and swollen for up to 6 weeks.
Are there any risks?
The risk from cortisone injection is extremely small. In those cases requiring surgery, there is a very risk of damage to the nerves to the finger. There may be soreness of the scar for a few weeks. Infection is usually simple to treat with antibiotics. Recurrence of symptoms after surgery is rare.