You can move your fingers because of soft tissues called flexor tendons that are attached to your fingers and the muscles in your arm. These tendons glide through channels called tendon sheaths, and trigger finger is the result of inflammation or thickening in the tendon sheath.
Trigger finger, or trigger digit, can affect anyone. With this condition, tendons in your fingers or thumbs can cause reduced function and a great deal of pain. Sometimes, trigger finger can cause locking of the finger in a bent position, as if pulling a trigger.
Symptoms of trigger finger include:
- A lump in the palm
- Pain or catching sensation when bending or straightening your finger
- Swelling in and around your finger
- Inability to extend your finger at all (in severe cases)
When a doctor addresses trigger finger, conservative treatment options are attempted first. Resting or splinting your finger may treat mild symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and steroid injections can also help to relieve the pain and inflammation.
If those methods prove ineffective, then surgical options may be explored. This includes trigger finger release, a surgery that is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. This procedure involves a small incision in the palm and the tendon sheath tunnel so the tendon can slide through it unobstructed, allowing the patient to regain function in their hand.