Have you ever experienced your finger getting “stuck” or feeling “locked,” and when you try to bend or straighten it, there’s a painful clicking or snapping sound? It may have happened to you while doing your normal day-to-day activities like typing on your laptop or opening a can of soda. Or maybe it happens to you quite often in the morning, after you just got out of bed. This stiffness in your finger is a condition called trigger finger. And while it can be a bothersome situation, the good news is there’s a way to treat it. In this article, we’ll tell you all about what a trigger finger is, what can cause it, and what you can do to remedy it.
What Is a Trigger Finger?
Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that causes pain, stiffness, and a locking or catching sensation when you bend or straighten your finger. The loud clicking noise your finger makes when you try to move it has been compared to a trigger being pulled and released, thus the name “trigger finger.” It can affect any finger or more than one finger at a time. However, the ring finger and thumb (also called trigger thumb) are the extremities most commonly affected by the condition.
What Causes Trigger Fingers?
A trigger finger occurs when there’s an inflammation build-up within a finger, so that’s why every time you try to bend or straighten it, you feel tenderness and pain. The inflammation is often caused by repeated forceful movements of the fingers or thumb.
Tendons, which are fibrous tissue bands that connect muscles and bones, are surrounded by a protective sheath. Together with a membrane called synovium, the sheath helps the tendon glide effortlessly to allow movement in your hands. However, harsh and insistent hand movements can cause the tendon’s sheath to become irritated and inflamed, generating pain.
Eventually, the long-term irritation of the tendon sheath can cause scarring and thickening, which affects the tendon’s motion. When this happens, bending your finger or thumb pulls the inflamed tendon through a narrowed sheath and makes it click or snap.
Individuals who do a lot of repetitive hand gripping, like bodybuilders, gardeners, and construction workers, are more prone to developing this condition. Additionally, people with medical conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, are also more likely to develop trigger fingers or a trigger thumb. A study has also proven that adult women are more susceptible to developing the condition, especially on their dominant hand.
How to Treat a Trigger Finger?
Luckily, you don’t have to live with a trigger finger forever. As long as you treat it early enough, you can cure your trigger finger without undergoing surgery. Here are some of the best non-surgical trigger finger remedies we suggest.
Rest Your Finger
Rest is the best medicine indeed. This age-old remedy may sound simple, but it is truly one you should follow. Resting your finger allows it to calm down and try to heal on its own. Make sure to avoid any hand activities that require forceful and repetitive actions. For additional trigger finger pain relief, take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or NSAIDs, which help reduce inflammation and minimize pain. You’ll be surprised that after a week or two, your fingers will feel perfectly normal again.
Splint Your Finger
When you’re resting your finger, it’s almost impossible not to move it. Moving our fingers to do ordinary tasks like opening a water bottle is second nature to us, so it’s easy to forget that you’re not supposed to move it. Splinting your finger and immobilizing it can help you avoid movement, making the resting phase more effective and recovery time quicker.
Exercise Your Finger
Doing some light exercises for your fingers is also highly recommended by physicians as these can help strengthen and loosen the stiffness from your trigger finger or thumb.
If you have a stress ball, squeezing the ball three to four times a day for a few minutes can help strengthen your thumb.
You can also stretch your fingers by placing your affected hand palm down on a table and using the other hand to lift the affected finger until you feel a good stretch. Hold it for a few seconds and do five repetitions three times a day.
Massage Your Finger
Okay, now who doesn’t love a good massage? Massaging your trigger finger with your other hand can also help provide relief. Use gentle but firm pressure when massaging the affected finger or thumb—massage in small circles for a few minutes, three times a day. However, be careful not to overdo it and always use pain as an indicator. Stop massaging immediately and let your fingers rest if you feel any sudden pain.
Chiropractic Care for Your Finger
Another excellent way to treat your trigger finger or thumb is by undergoing chiropractic care. A chiropractor uses advanced techniques and gentle adjustments that target the spine and extremities to help realign your body and provide relief.
Chiropractors typically use a whole-body approach as they recognize that most conditions are not limited to only what appears to be the affected area. These adjustments will effectively treat the root of the pain, allowing your body to have more holistic healing. Chiropractic is a natural way to treat trigger fingers and other parts of your body that you had no idea needed healing.
We’re Looking Forward to Helping You at Our Chiropractic Offices in NJ!
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. After all, our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, NJ, and Hackensack, NJ, are ready to welcome you!