Trigger finger is a type of tendon ailment that causes a snapping sensation when you bend your finger. The sensation is caused by inflammation in the tendon and can be corrected with trigger finger surgery by John R. Barbour, MD, FACS, who is a fellowship trained hand and peripheral nerve specialist. As a triple board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Barbour works with men and women in the Washington, DC area, including Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria and surrounding communities in Virginia, who need expert care for trigger finger.
What is Trigger Finger?
Stenosing tenosynovitis is a condition commonly known as “trigger finger” or “trigger thumb”. Trigger finger is a condition in which one of the fingers becomes “stuck” in a bent position and often needs to be “popped” back out. Trigger finger occurs when the affected fingers tendon sheath becomes irritated and inflamed. This inflammation narrows the space around the tendon which interferes with the normal gliding motion of the tendon through the sheath. If trigger finger is severe, the finger may become locked in a bent position. Prolonged irritation of the tendon sheath can produce scarring, thickening and the formation of bumps (nodules) that impede the tendon’s motion even more.
Who is Susceptible to Trigger Finger?
People whose work or hobbies that require repetitive actions and strong gripping are at higher risk for developing trigger finger. Examples of such occupations include; receptionists or office positions, construction or manual laborers, assembly line workers, and even trucker drivers. While the cause is not always known, trigger fingers are commonly found in patients with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and diabetes. Trigger finger is also more common in women than men.
Trigger finger may start with a discomfort felt at the base of the affected finger, where the finger joins the palm of the hand. Often the area is sensitive to pressure along with the trademark painful “popping” and “catching” movement. Triggering of the finger is usually more pronounced in the morning, while firmly grasping an object or when straightening the finger.
About Trigger Finger Surgery
The goal of trigger finger treatment is to eliminate the swelling and catching/locking to allow for painless movement of the finger or thumb. Dr. Barbour will assess your unique symptoms to provide the best treatment for you. Non-surgical treatments can include anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections. If your symptoms are severe or if conservative treatments haven’t helped, Dr. Barbour may suggest the following:
- Percutaneous Trigger Release: In the comfort of our office Dr. Barbour will numb your hand completely. Once comfortable, he will insert a needle into the tissue around the affected tendon. Moving the needle and the finger beneath the skin helps break apart the constriction that’s blocking the smooth motion of the tendon. Percutaneous release is highly effective in most patients. Typically, patients experience immediate relief from the clicking and popping and have minimal soreness in the 24-48 hours following the procedure.
- Trigger Finger Release Surgery: Working through a small incision near the base of the affected finger, Dr. Barbour can completely divide the constricted section of the tendon sheath. This procedure is performed in an operating room to maximize patient comfort and assure the entire restrictive band is released. This incision heals very well in most patients and is generally hidden in one of the creases of the palm. Sutures in the skin are usually removed in 2 weeks following the surgery. Occasionally, hand therapy is suggested to help patients regain strength and use of the finger after surgery.
When medications fail to reduce your symptoms of ligament inflammation in your finger, it may be time to meet with Dr. Barbour to learn about your treatment options. Dr. Barbour is a triple board-certified plastic surgeon who works with men and women in the Washington, DC area, including Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria and surrounding communities in Virginia. Contact Barbour Plastic Surgery today to schedule a personal consultation.