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Trigger Finger Physiotherapy is a “snapping” or “locking” condition of any of the digits of the hand when opened or closed. Trigger finger is medically termed stenosing tenosynovitis.
Symptoms of trigger finger may occur when any of the four fingers of the hand attempts to flex closed while gripping. Instead of a smooth, continual closure, the digit hesitates and then snaps closed. When attempting to extend the digit, a similar hesitation may occur before it “snaps” into full extension. In severe cases, the digits must be manually brought into full extension or flexion. The closure is frequently associated with pain at the base of the digit on the palm of the hand. Triggering can also affect the thumb.
Trigger Finger Physiotherapy is caused by local swelling from inflammation or scarring of the tendon sheath around the flexor tendons. These are tendons that normally pull the affected digit inward toward the palm (flexion). Usually, trigger finger occurs as an isolated condition because of repetitive trauma. Sometimes, trigger finger is an associated condition resulting from an underlying illness that causes inflammation of tissues of the hand, such as rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, data presented at the 2005 American College of Rheumatology national meeting suggested that a majority of patients with rheumatoid arthritis have inflammation around the tendons of the palm of the hand that could develop into trigger finger.
The quickest and effective treatment is a local cortisone injection into the tendon sheath around the affected tendon, but the risk of rupture of the tendons is very high and injections must not be repeated more than two in a year. Most patients will respond positively to the cortisone injection, but this may only be a temporary response. When a trigger finger persists after two injections and is not responsive to the above treatments, surgical procedures to release the tendon sheath and/or remove the inflamed or scarred tissue is considered. Surgical intervention is usually a permanent cure for this condition.