The Symptomology of Trigger Finger By Staff Writer





Stenosing Tenosynovitis, better recognized as Trigger Finger, is a physical abnormality that has gained greater attention in the medical industry over the last few years. Often constituted as a disease, its relationship to cumulative trauma and direct injury has now been embraced, revealing it as just another form of repetitive strain injury like carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow. 

The signs of Trigger Finger can worsen in severity, but the obvious symptomology of the finger "jerking" is one that cannot be mistaken for anything else. As the finger is bent downward towards the palm of the hand, the finger can lock down into the palm of the hand. As the finger is straightened, often times with the help of the opposing hand to extend the finger, it will snap back to its correct anatomical position. For some, the triggering finger might be more painful as it jerks downward into the palm, and for others it is just the opposite, with more severe pain as the tendon snaps backward into the extended position. Also, there are those that experience a much smoother motion as the finger is flexed downward into the palm of the hand, but then it sticks in place, and then as it is extended, it painfully jerks backward into a straightened position. So in other words, there are various ways in which Trigger Finger symptoms display themselves.


The locking of the affected finger is the result of the growth that has formed on the flexor tendon to become trapped within the pulley system as the finger is flexed and then extended, or straightened. Although Trigger Finger can display itself due to acute trauma such as falling onto an outstretched hand, causing micro-tears in the flexor tendon and the development of scar-tissue on the distressed tendon, it is most often caused by ceaseless overuse. Repetitive motion, plus frequency, duration and force have the same effect as the acute injury caused by blunt trauma, but it occurs over a longer period of time. The end result is tiny micro-tears that create scar-tissue due to repeated use of the afflicted finger, resulting in increased friction within the tendon sheath and thus causing more extensive swelling and the continual cycle of irritation, inflammation, swelling and nodule growth. 

Although blunt trauma and repeated use can cause Trigger Finger, there are also other pre-cursors that increase the likelihood of developing this ailment. Swelling caused by Arthritis can irritate the tendon and its sheath and the infection of a finger caused by a fracture can cause irritation and scarring of not only the tendon by also the tendon sheath. 

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Often, doctors hail rest and over-the-counter medications for eliminating Trigger Finger, especially if the symptoms are milder or if they are just arriving. If signs are more progressed, they may recommend a splint or a cortisone injection. If cortisone is utilized, the individual needs to be quite cautious, as the injection may be quite painful. They also need to be aware that cortisone not only reduces pain and overall signs, it can cause severe degradation of the tendon, resulting in more problems than what Trigger Finger itself posed. Although countless physicians will try to have the client come back for more injections, it is best to hold back from repeated use of cortisone. Surgery is another alternative often chosen, but with minimal relief as the opening of the tendon sheath time and again increases scarring in the area and more aggressive Trigger Finger symptoms. 

The best rehabilitative thing done for this condition is to enforce conservative treatment while the cortisone is undertaking its job. This allows for the subject to perform corrective stretches and exercises while the finger can glide through a normal range of motion without pain.

The conservative approach to treating Trigger Finger relies on stretches and exercises that target the muscles and tendons in the distressed area. 

The active Flextend/Restore stretches and exercises can help reduce the adhesion by breaking down the scar-tissue and thinning the tendon, allowing it to move freely through the pulley system without the locking and associated pain. Under the circumstances, the fulfillment of a conservative treatment program utilizing the appropriate stretches and exercises is the most qualified therapy available for correcting the disabling disorder established as Trigger Finger Syndrome.

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