Trigger Finger (Stenosing Tenosynovitis)

This condition occurs when the tendons that control the motion of the fingers get stuck as they go through the tunnel through which they pass to pull on and move the finger bones.

The muscles that control our hands and fingers are in our forearms. The muscles generate a pulling force, and deliver that force to the bones by the tendons that pull on the bones. The tendons are kept in their place by a sheath, and there are belt loops, or pulleys, that keep the tendons in the right place. These pulleys have a beginning, or an edge.

The symptoms of a trigger finger can develop when the tendon rubs against the edge of the pulley. This rubbing can create a small injury in the tendon. To repair that injury, the tendon at that spot gets a little inflamed and swollen. Now that the part of the tendon is bigger, it becomes even harder to fit in the tunnel. The triggering sensation occurs when the swollen part of the tendon pops through the belt loop, or when it pops out. The release when this pop occurs, which can be painful, gives a quick motion like when pulling a trigger…hence the name.

The treatments include:
–anti-inflammatory medicines
–mechanical rest (splint)
–cortisone injection
–surgery, to release the belt loop, usually done through small incision on an outpatient basis