Crucial Rehab Team
My finger is stuck! (Trigger Finger)
You reach out for your water bottle on the table. You pull to open the cap and before you can bring it to your mouth, your finger fails to reopen and remains in a bent position. Worst part about it, there is pain and it takes a while before your finger finally agrees to straighten out again.
These symptoms relate closely with a condition known as trigger finger or stenosing flexor tenosynovitis. The efficient and fluid movements in each digit is made possible with several “pulleys” in the form of annular and cruciform tunnels. These “pulleys” hold the tendons in place along the digit bones and allow them to glide through during movement. However, when the tendosynovium gets inflamed either due to overuse or an injury, the gliding mechanism is disrupteddue to an increase in size of the tendon. As a result, the finger gets stuck.
Despite being a common condition, research has found that women are 6 times more likely to develop trigger finger compared to men and this normally happens in their 5th to 6thdecade of life. People with diabetes also have a 10% higher chance of developing trigger finger. Tendons can get inflamed when performing activities that require prolonged forceful finger flexion such as carrying heavy shopping bags, strenuous grasping of tools, prolonged writing etc.
Despite a majority of research stating invasive techniques as the preferred cost-effective treatment for trigger finger, non-invasive methods can still be helpful in reducing symptoms and maintaining current hand function. For cases where symptoms are still relatively mild to moderate or for individuals who would prefer a conservative option, self-release as well as exercises such as stretching and tendon gliding movements are useful.
Exercises are shown in the video below:
Makkouk AH, Oetgen ME, Swigart CR, Dodds SD. Trigger ﬁnger: etiology, evaluation, and treatment. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008;1:92–96.