Trigger finger is a condition that affects your ability to extend or curl your fingers or thumb freely. For example, the stiff fingers might move back in position with an audible snap. Learn about the trigger finger test that allows your doctor to diagnose your condition so that you receive treatment before the disease progresses; let’s dive in.
What is Trigger Finger?
Also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger is a condition that makes it challenging to fold or stretch the affected finger or thumb. When the condition progresses to its late stages, your fingers can become stiff permanently, affecting your daily routine. This disease results from an inflamed, scarred or abnormally thickened tendon sheath in the finger or thumb.
A sheath – the tenosynovium – surrounds the tendon, reducing friction during movement through the annular ligament at the first finger joint. However, sometimes the tendon sheath becomes inflamed, limiting smooth movement through the ligament.
Because of this, you find it more difficult to curl or straighten the affected digit. In addition, you experience some symptoms.
- Pain at the base of the affected digit
- A palpable lump where the finger in question meets the palm
- Tenderness at the first joint of the affected thumb or finger
- Locking and catching in the finger when extending or retracting it
- An audible snap when curling or straightening the finger or thumb
- Pain along the affected digit
- Permanently bent or straightened finger in extreme cases
What Does a Trigger Finger Test Involve?
A trigger finger test isn’t complicated and doesn’t require specialised equipment and invasive tests. Instead, your doctor can conduct it right in the office. After all, it’s usually a physical hand examination and discussing your other symptoms.
The trigger finger test runs as follows:
- The doctor examines your hand to check for lumps in the palm
- The physician will instruct you to move, fold and extend your fingers. The doctor assesses smooth movement, noting any catching, locking, and snapping sound as you move the digits.
- Your doctor also examines the hand for painful and tender areas during motion and rest.
In addition to the physical examination, your physician will inquire about any other symptoms you feel. For instance, it’s advisable to inform the doctor about difficulties performing tasks involving effectively using your fingers.
Imaging techniques aren’t usually required to diagnose trigger finger. However, your doctor might request such tests to see the finger structure more clearly. Furthermore, blood tests can also be used to identify markers for potential underlying conditions like arthritis.
Treating Trigger Finger at the Harley Clinic
It’s important to treat trigger finger in its early stages. Treatment options include:
- Hand therapy
- Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation in the affected area
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen for pain management
- Finger and thumb brace or splint
- Trigger finger release surgery
If you’re experiencing trigger finger symptoms, book a consultation with a hand specialist at the Harley Clinic to discuss the best option for you.