What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger is a condition in which the tendons that bend your fingers get Triggercaught in the palm. The tendons that flex your fingers run through a series of pulleys.  This pulley system is what allows nice, coordinated flexion of the fingers.  However, with repeated flexing and gripping with the fingers this pulley system is exposed to friction.  This friction causes swelling or thickening of the pulley and the tendon.  As a result, sometimes the swollen tendon becomes caught on the edge of the pulley.  This can cause pain in the palm and can even result in the finger locking in flexion. It is more common in diabetics.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

Often people complain of pain in the palm and locking of the digit.  The locking does not always occur and is often preceded by pain and a feeling of finger stiffness.  Some people even complain of pain further out in the finger that is locking.

How is trigger finger diagnosed?

Trigger finger is most often diagnosed by history and physical exam.  On occasion, an x ray will be ordered to rule out arthritis.

What is the treatment for trigger finger?

In most cases, the initial trigger finger treatment is nonoperative.  A steroid injection into the inflamed tendon/pulley resolves the problem 80% of the time.  This number drops to 50% of the time in diabetics.  If the trigger persists after two attempted injections, then the next step is surgery.

What does trigger finger surgery involve?

Trigger finger surgery involves dividing the pulley on which the tendon is catching.  Dr. Graham does this using an open fashion with a very small incision in the palm.  At Graham Plastic Surgery your experience is paramount, therefore,  for patient comfort and convenience Dr. Graham performs this surgery in the office. Office surgery offers several advantages. The procedure takes less than an hour out of your day (as opposed to half day in the hospital),  you can drive yourself to and from the surgery, you don’t have to refrain from food or drink all day prior to the procedure, and you save thousands of dollars in extra hospital expenses.

What are the main risks of this surgery?

• Swelling, stiffness, and pain
• Infection
• Nerve Damage
• Recurrence

What is the recovery after trigger finger surgery?

This is dependant on the type of work you perform.  Many patients with office jobs only require a few days.  However, patients who perform heavy labor may require 2-4 weeks to recover.

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