3 Ways to Treat Trigger Finger

Are annoying hand discomfort and painful locking of joints and fingers preventing you from doing the things you enjoy? For many, trigger finger is painful and limiting. The good news, however, is that there are many ways to both treat the pain and prevent further injury.

What exactly is trigger finger?

Unique especially to people who have spent long careers in physically demanding jobs where they used their hand in the same repetitive motions over and over, trigger finger most frequently affects women and men between the ages of 40 and 60. Women and those with diabetes do tend to develop it more frequently than others.

Your hands’ comprehensive network of bones, muscles, and tendons are all expertly engineered to glide and move together in a seamless, pain-free way. Occasionally, however, the tendon sheath (layer of membrane around the tendon) of a finger becomes irritated and inflamed, reducing the amount of room between the tendon and the sheath itself. A narrower space within the sheath leaves the tendon less and less room to glide when you move your fingers causing pain and a disconcerting locking of a finger in place.

Common symptoms of trigger finger include:

  • Stiffness of a finger (especially in the morning)
  • Tenderness
  • Visible protrusion at base of finger (usually ring finger or thumb)
  • Locking of finger in bent position
  • Popping/snapping sensation

How can you relieve trigger finger pain?

While a visit to the doctor for evaluation and diagnosis is recommended, common treatment options include:

Splinting

A is a characteristically rather basic device but can provide extensive relief. Often structured with plastic or aluminum and then surrounded by a softer material and velcro straps, trigger finger splints hold the affected finger in place, stabilizing the joint and tendons and preventing stiffness, popping, pain, and locking of the finger.

You can find myriad splint options for trigger finger online, or possibly over the counter in your local drugstore or pharmacy. When looking for the right splint for your trigger finger, you want something that is lightweight, won’t absorb sweat and moisture, will stay in place, and is comfortable.

Exercises

Just as you would exercise to strengthen your heart, leg, back, arm, and core muscles, so can you exercise your phalanges to boost hand strength and flexibility to combat trigger finger symptoms. Focusing specifically on the tendons in the hand which are causing trigger finger, you can practice several very simple exercises.

With your hand lying flat on a table or other flat surface, lift one finger up at a time and hold for at least ten seconds, Repeat with all your fingers and your thumb. Have a tennis or stress ball lying around? Practice squeezing it with your entire hand regularly, holding for at least five seconds at a time before releasing. Squeeze 5 to 10 times per repetition.

Massage

Applying lightweight pressure through simple massage around the finger joints can provide pain relief and potentially reduce inflammation. How? As you massage vulnerable tissues around your affected trigger finger injury, you stimulate the circulation of blood to your hand, blood rich with nutrients to aid repair.

Massage can also break up scar tissue and loosen stiff joints and muscles in the hand, increasing range of motion and flexibility to make hand exercises easier as well. Hand massage followed by strengthening exercises and ice therapy is believed to help reduce inflammation and effectively treat the swollen tendon causing your trigger finger.

Trigger finger shouldn’t keep you from the hobbies or work you enjoy. With a medical evaluation and helpful, natural treatment options, enhancing your hand health for the better is easy.

 

Image courtesy of [Praisaeng] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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