Dr. Sameer Puri answers your most important questions about stenosing tenosynovitis, also known as trigger finger.
My doctor told me I might have a “trigger finger.” What is that?
“Trigger finger,” or stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that causes pain, locking, popping or clicking of the fingers or thumb when the hand is opened or closed.
What causes trigger finger?
Muscles in your forearm attach to tendons that run all the way to the bones at the ends of your fingers. These muscles help you bend your fingers into a fist. In the hand, the tendons are held close to the bone by pulleys. If the pulleys become too tight or thick, or the tendon gets swollen, the tendon can get stuck. If the tendon cannot glide freely, trigger finger occurs.
What are some of the symptoms of trigger finger?
In its early stages, trigger finger can cause pain. Usually, it is tender on your palm where the finger joins the hand. Sometimes, you feel the pain further along or even on the back of the finger. You might feel like your hands or fingers are stiff or swollen. As it progresses, the tightness can cause the tendon to catch as it tries to glide, leading to a painful snapping sensation when making a fist or opening the hand. Eventually, the finger can get stuck where it is, making it really hard either to straighten or to bend it.
The symptoms are often worst in the mornings immediately after waking up and can occur in any of the fingers or thumbs.