If you wake up one morning and one of your fingers is stuck in a bent position, you might have a condition known as trigger finger. This condition is caused by inflammation of the tendon sheath in the affected finger. Your doctor has a few options for treatments, including orthopedic surgery. Here's a look at the symptoms of trigger finger, when surgery might be needed, and what to expect with the procedure.
Symptoms You May Have With A Trigger Finger
Symptoms vary and they can be mild, which is why surgery isn't always necessary. Inflammation can be worse in the morning, so you might notice your finger gets stuck when you grasp your morning cup of coffee or when you start dressing.
You might be able to straighten your finger by pulling it up with your other hand. Your finger might straighten on its own with a quick snap that you can feel in your joint. Sometimes, a trigger finger is painful, and in advanced cases, your finger can get stuck and you won't be able to straighten the joint.
When Surgery Might Be Needed
Your doctor may try anti-inflammatory medications, a splint, physical therapy, rest, and special gloves to keep your finger straight and reduce pain. When those treatments don't help, or when your finger is stuck, your doctor might refer you to an orthopedic surgeon to be assessed for a surgical procedure on the sheath around the tendon in your finger.
How Trigger Finger Surgery Is Done
Surgery for trigger finger is usually an outpatient orthopedic surgery that only requires a local anesthetic with IV sedation. The surgeon makes a small incision in your palm near the affected finger and cuts through the thickened sheath that's constricting the movement of your finger. With the sheath opened up, your finger will be able to move normally again.
The incision is then closed with stitches. You may need to go back to the doctor to have the stitches removed, or the stitches may dissolve on their own in a few weeks. Your incision will be covered with a bandage, and you'll be sent home with instructions for your recovery.
While you may have pain and discomfort for a few days, you should be able to move your finger normally right away. It could take a few months for the swelling to go away completely, but you should be able to return to work long before that. Your doctor will let you know how long you need to take off from work depending on the type of job you have. If you do heavy labor, you'll need to take off more time from work.
I was badly injured a year ago, and it took a long time to get back to my normal level of ability. One of the things that helped more than anything was the time that I spent in physical therapy. I didn’t always love going to physical therapy – in fact, sometimes, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. But ultimately, the therapists and other patients I worked with helped inspire me to get better, and the exercises facilitated my healing process. I started this blog to talk about all of the things I learned about physical therapy and healing during my recovery time. I hope my blog reaches other accident victims. I want to offer encouragement, hope, and information for people who are in the same boat that I was in.