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Trigger finger - stenosing tenosynovitis
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Trigger finger - stenosing tenosynovitis

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Causes

The cause of trigger finger is a narrowing of the sheath that surrounds the tendon in the affected finger. Tendons are fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. Each tendon is surrounded by a protective sheath — which in turn is lined with a substance called tenosynovium. The tenosynovium releases lubricating fluid, which allows the tendon to glide smoothly within its protective sheath as you bend and straighten your finger — like a cord through a lubricated pipe.

But if the tenosynovium becomes inflamed from repetitive strain injury or overuse or due to inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, the space within the tendon sheath can become narrow and constricting. The tendon can't glide through the sheath easily, at times catching the finger in a bent position before popping straight. With each catch, the tendon itself becomes irritated and inflamed, worsening the problem. With prolonged inflammation, fibrosis can occur and bumps (nodules) can form.

Risk factors

If you routinely grip an item — such as a power tool or musical instrument — for extended periods of time, you may be more prone to the development of a trigger finger. You are also at greater risk if you have certain medical conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, amyloidosis and certain infections — including tuberculosis and sporotrichosis, a fungal infection that usually affects the skin. Trigger finger is also more common in women than in men.

 

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 02:31 AM