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Trigger Thumb

Trigger Thumb | Orchard Health Clinic

Trigger Thumb

Trigger Thumb is a condition that causes pain, stiffness, and a sensation of locking when bending or straightening the finger.

Trigger Thumb Causes

In most cases, the pain comes from a repeated movement or forceful use of the finger or thumb. It can also happen when tendons which are tough bands of tissue that connect muscles and bones in the finger or thumb get inflamed and swollen. Together, the tendons and muscles in the hands and arms bend and straighten the fingers and thumbs. A tendon usually glides easily through the sheath, a membrane that surrounds joints and keeps them lubricated. Long-term irritation of the tendon sheath can lead to scarring and thickening that affect the tendon’s motion. When this happens, bending the finger or thumb pulls the inflamed tendon through a narrowed sheath, making it snap or pop.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣

Risk factors of Trigger Thumb

Factors that put you at risk of developing Trigger Thumb may include:

  • Repeated gripping. Occupations and hobbies that involve repetitive hand use and prolonged gripping may increase your risk of Trigger Thumb.
  • Certain health problems. People who have Diabetes or Rheumatoid Arthritis are at higher risk.
  • Gender. Trigger Thumb is more common in women.

Symptoms of Trigger Thumb

Symptoms of Trigger Thumb may include:

  • Finger stiffness particularly in the morning.
  • A popping or clicking sensation as you move your finger.
  • Tenderness or a bump (nodule) in the palm at the base of the affected finger.
  • Finger catching or locking in a bent position, which suddenly pops straight.
  • Finger locked in a bent position which you are unable to straighten.

Trigger Thumb Treatment

Physical therapy is a great way to alleviate symptoms of Trigger Thumb. Physical therapy for Trigger Thumb would include manual therapy to decrease pain and the catching of the finger. Pain relief modalities such as ice therapy and heat therapy may also be applied to the hand to help decrease pain. A splint or brace may be recommended by your therapist to limit the movement of the finger. Gentle mobility exercises and stretches will be prescribed to improve the mobility of the affected finger. If in doubt, please seek professional advice.

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