Trigger Finger Surgery

Your hands, fingers and wrists are essential tools that allow you to work, play and perform everyday activities. How well hands, fingers or wrists interact depends on the integrity and function of the ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints and bones.

Problems in any of these can affect upper extremity function, causing disruptions at home and work and negatively impacting quality of life.

The human hand itself is very complex and delicate in structure. Again, this whole region works as a single unit, and the dysfunction of a single part needs consideration of the whole. An additional year of training is required for those orthopaedic surgeons seeking certification in hand and wrist surgery.

At some time in life, you may experience hand, finger or wrist pain.

Trigger finger limits finger movement. When you try to straighten your finger, it will lock or catch before popping out straight.

Trigger finger is a condition that affects the tendons in your fingers or thumb.

Cause

The cause of trigger finger is usually unknown. There are factors that put people at greater risk for developing it.

  • Trigger fingers are more common in women than men.
  • They occur most frequently in people who are between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age.
  • Trigger fingers are more common in people with certain medical problems, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Trigger fingers may occur after activities that strain the hand.

Symptoms

Symptoms of trigger finger usually start without any injury, although they may follow a period of heavy hand use. Symptoms may include:

  • A tender lump in your palm
  • Swelling
  • Catching or popping sensation in your finger or thumb joints
  • Pain when bending or straightening your finger
  • Stiffness and catching tend to be worse after inactivity, such as when you wake in the morning. Your fingers will often loosen up as you move them.

Sometimes, when the tendon breaks free, it may feel like your finger joint is dislocating.

In severe cases of trigger finger, the finger cannot be straightened, even with help. Sometimes, one or more fingers are affected.

Diagnosis

Your Wisconsin Bone & Joint doctor can diagnose the problem by talking with you and examining your hand. No other testing or x-rays are usually needed to diagnose trigger finger.

Surgical Procedure

The goal of surgery is to widen the opening of the tunnel so that the tendon can slide through it more easily. This is usually done on an outpatient basis, meaning you will not need to stay overnight at the hospital.

Most people are given an injection of local anesthesia to numb the hand for the procedure.

The surgery is performed through a small incision in the palm or sometimes with the tip of a needle. The tendon sheath tunnel is cut. When it heals back together, the sheath is looser and the tendon has more room to move through it.

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