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Untangling the Mystery of Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is an often misunderstood condition that causes pain and discomfort in the hand. It occurs when a person’s fingers or thumb get stuck in a contracted position, making it difficult to straighten them out fully. This condition can be disabling and have serious impacts on a person’s quality of life. But what exactly is trigger finger, and how can it be treated?

Trigger finger is caused by inflammation of the tendons in the hand, which leads to restricted movement and stiffness. Repetitive motions such as texting, typing or playing an instrument are common triggers for this condition. Other factors that can contribute to trigger finger include age-related wear-and-tear of the tendon sheath, certain medical conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, and direct trauma to the hand or wrist area.

it is sometimes called stenosing tenosynovitis and it basically occurs when the tendon sheath thickens due to inflammation, making it harder for the tendon to move within its casing causing it to get “stuck” thus the click and rigidity.

Trigger Finger Triggers

The way the finger works is that the tendon of the fingers weave their way under pulleys which help maintain the tendons in a linear track and maximises the force , this is used to good effect in rock climbers who can often hold themselves from mountain faces with their fingers, though they often suffer the consequences.

There are 5 annular pulleys and it is the first A1 pulled that is often implicated which is where the hand and your digit meets. It is caused by the inflammation and subsequent narrowing of the A1 pulley through which the flexor tendon passes at the metacarpal head, leading to restricted movement of the tendon through the pulley.

Trigger Finger Prevalence

 It is much more common in women than men, may be related to occupations involving constant gripping or repetitive local trauma and appears to be associated with systemic inflammatory diseases, it is also more prevalent in diabetics, those who have had carpal tunnel syndrome and usually presents in the 5th or 6th decade.. The diagnosis is typically made by the characteristic presentation and symptoms include painful clicking and rigidity.

Can Osteopathy or Acupuncture Help Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger is a condition that can certainly be helped with a combination of Osteopathy and Acupuncture. there is a published study on this here .

However not all cases improve as there are many factors that can get in the way so my advice is always to have a few sessions perhaps 4 or 5 and reassess if there is progress then there is every chance the condition can remit.  If there is no improvement after 4 or 5 sessions then the chances are redically reduced.

Other Treatments For Trigger Finger

If conservative treatment  as above dont help then the other option is steroidal injection which helps some.

Finally the other solution is surgical which does have a 90% success rate, but is clearly invasive and your hand is out of action for a number of weeks.

So the conclusion  is to try conservative and non invasive treatment and then if not succesful after 4 or 5 sessions to perhaps have a chat with your friendly surgeon.

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Further References

Corticosteroid Injection for the Treatment of Trigger Finger: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Control Trials  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35135421/

Acupuncture and trigger finger https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acu.2012.0896

Comparative effectiveness of various treatment strategies for trigger finger by pairwise meta-analysis






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Laurens Holve

Laurens Holve has over 35 years experience as a Healthcare Practitioner specialising in both Osteopathy and Acupuncture practicing in North London and Woking, Surrey.

He trained in Osteopathic Medicine in London and studied Acupuncture in London and China where he worked and gained clinical experience in a hospital in Shanghai.

He helps people quickly get back to health by using his many years of study and experience employing different techniques to help reduce pain, increase mobility and improve health.