Complications of Trigger Finger

Complications of Trigger Finger

We demand a lot from our hands on a daily basis without even realizing it. Whether it’s holding a fresh cup of coffee, dribbling a basketball, or performing fine and intricate tasks, their strength and dexterity get us through each day until something goes wrong — like trigger finger.

Dr. Edward R. Dupay, Jr., brings the latest treatment to musculoskeletal conditions at Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Florida, including those affecting the hands. Whenever possible, Dr. Dupay opts for nonsurgical solutions. However, when necessary, he also specializes in minimally invasive procedures, including hand surgery.

In this blog, Dr. Dupay shares the most common signs of trigger finger and the complications that can arise without treatment.

How your fingers bend

Bending your finger may not seem like the most complicated action in your body. However, it takes a delicate and complex system to make these movements happen.

Each of your hands contains long, cord-like structures that connect muscles in your forearm to the bones in your finger. This tissue, known as flexor tendons, gives your fingers the ability to bend. But it doesn’t stop there.

Your flexor tendons also pass through a tunnel — or tendon sheath — in the palm and fingers. The tendon sheath allows each flexor tendon to glide smoothly whenever its finger straightens and bends. 

Last but not least, your tendon sheaths also contain bands of tissue called “pulleys.” Their job is to hold your flexor tendon close to its finger bone. The pulley at the base of your finger where it attaches to your palm is referred to as the A1 pulley. It’s also usually behind trigger finger problems.

Trigger finger basics

When you have trigger finger or trigger thumb, your tendon sheath or A1 pulley becomes irritated or inflamed. This makes it difficult for your flexor tendon to pass through smoothly when your finger bends and straightens. 

Over time, irritation from the tendon sheath can cause inflammation in the flexor tendon, leading to irritation and swelling in this tissue as well. When the irritation continues, the tendon sheath can become thicker, and the tendon flexor can become scarred, thickened, and develop bumps or nodules.

All these changes can interfere with your ability to bend and straighten your finger, causing symptoms that include:

As your condition progresses, you can even have digits that lock into a bent position. When this occurs, you have to gently straighten the digit with your other hand.

Complications of trigger finger

If you have signs of trigger finger, don’t ignore them. Mild cases often respond to noninvasive solutions, including: 

However, when trigger finger becomes more severe, it often requires surgical treatment.

Dr. Dupay often uses two different minimally invasive approaches to treat trigger finger. One method involves making a small incision near the base of the affected digit and cutting the constricted tendon sheath. He also uses a technique known as percutaneous release, which improves finger movements by breaking up constricted parts of the tendon with a needle.

In most cases, you can start using your finger immediately after having hand surgery for trigger finger.

Do you have trigger finger? Don’t wait to find solutions. Contact Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Florida to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dupay in Fort Myers by calling 239-768-2272 today it.

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