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Trigger finger - stenosing tenosynovitis
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Trigger finger - stenosing tenosynovitis

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When to seek medical advice

Bring any stiffness or catching in a finger joint to the attention of your doctor so that he or she may review your symptoms and perform a physical evaluation of your hand. Seek immediate medical care if a finger joint is hot and inflamed because this may indicate an infection.

How is it Treated?

Conservative (non-surgical) treatment is an appropriate first step, unless the finger or thumb is in an unmovable, locked position. Initial treatment involves avoiding or modifying those activities that have caused the inflammation.

The physician may decide to restrict movement of the joint by means of a splint. Oral anti-inflammatory medications are often used to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Anti-inflammatory medication may also be administered directly into the tendon sheath by means of an injection to reduce the soft tissue swelling.

In cases that do not respond to conservative treatment, or if the finger or thumb remain in a locked position, surgery may be recommended.

Surgery is performed on an out-patient basis under a local anesthetic. A transverse or zigzag incision is made in the palm of the hand at the base of the affected finger or thumb. In most cases the surgeon will simply release (cut) the first annular band, relieving the constriction of the tendon as it passes through the sheath. The patient may be asked to actively move the tendon during surgery to confirm whether the triggering has been relieved.

In cases involving inflammation of the lining of the tendon, such as arthritis, it may be necessary to remove the thickened synovial covering and other tissue surrounding the tendon.

Following surgery, a light dressing is applied to protect the wound yet allow for active and passive motion of the finger or thumb. The dressing may be removed after several days. It is recommended that the hand be kept dry until the sutures are removed, usually 10-14 days following surgery. Activities requiring use of the affected hand may be restricted for 4-6 weeks.


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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