I know what you are thinking, and no, this has nothing to do with people that use firearms. Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis is a very common and debilitating problem. It is the result of an enlargement of the flexor tendons that occurs in the palm. It can manifest as pain in the hand and fingers, the characteristic locking of a digit (triggering) or stiffness in the hand.
People that get the more common carpal tunnel syndrome are prone to trigger fingers and people that get a trigger finger in one digit are more prone to getting it in another digit.
Trigger finger is graded based on the severity.
In early grade 1 the digit may only be painful. The characteristic location is in the palm, but many patients report pain throughout the hand
In grade 2 the digit will “trigger” or lock in its characteristic position. This is painful but can be “unlocked”
In grade 3 the digit locks but the patient has to use their other hand to get the finger unlocked
In the last stage, grade 4, the digit begins to get stiff as a result of not moving through its normal range of motion.
There are many treatment options available for trigger finger. By far the most effective treatment is surgery. The good news is many people do not require surgery. Sometimes something as easy as identifying the activity that caused the trigger and eliminating that activity can improve symptoms. However in many cases the triggering has progressed. By the time most patients have reached their doctor’s office they have tried a combination of treatments such as NSAIDS, rest and splinting.
Your doctor may offer a cortisone injection into the hand. This is the most effective treatment short of surgery. For those of you that do require surgery, don’t be too alarmed. The procedure can usually be done through a tiny incision requiring a stitch or two or maybe even just some tape. This procedure is near 100% effective at stopping the triggering