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Trigger finger condition is caused by an inflammation or swelling in one of the tendon sheaths (the tube that hosts the tendon). Each finger has an individual tendon that connects the finger bones to the muscles. Moving fingers should be done with ease and tendons should glide without pain. If the tendon sheath is swelled or inflamed then the smoothness in movement will be gone causing the respective finger to block.
Having one of the fingers or thumbs stuck in place while it also hurts can seriously damage the quality of life for anybody. Trigger finger is a common cause of disability among people all ages. Such affection can harm the person who has it emotionally in terms of the abilities that are being taken away from them because of a locked finger. Treating such condition can result in a better life both physically and mentally.
The main benefit a patient can get from having this surgery performed is regaining the capacity to use the affected hand or foot properly again. Also, releasing pain will have a great impact on the quality of life speaking about getting enough sleep, doing chores around the house and so on. Although in time trigger finger condition tends to get solved by itself, living with the pain and discomfort caused by it is not ideal. Surgery is recommended especially if a long period of time passed and the condition still persists.
The candidate for such procedure should present the following symptoms:
- While the person is still able to move their finger, a popping sensation and sound appears when bent or straightened. This is the first sign that the respective finger is going to be stuck in place.
- Once the finger is being locked in a bent position the person will be able to move it with the help of the other hand without feeling anything
- Pain in the palm focused at the base of the triggered finger
- Stiffness in the affected finger, accentuated in the morning
The doctor will ask the patient for a medical background and will perform a general check-up. If any medication is being taken it should be mentioned for completing a profile. After the general examination, the doctor will focus on the patient’s symptoms and start consulting the affected hand. The patient may be asked about usual habits and daily activities in order to determine if one of these caused the trigger finger condition.
Trigger finger condition is usually diagnosed by feeling the area to check for tenderness or nodule forming in the hand (both the palm and the finger). Bending and straightening of the finger and palm may be required in order to determine the health of the tendon. When pain occurs, the patient should immediately inform the medic. After examining the hand diagnosing should be easy. If any doubt is encountered, then an ultrasound scan can be used for further examination. For more information, try consulting Centre for Surgery.
The trigger finger surgery is used if no other option works in treating the condition. If the finger proves to be permanently locked in place, surgery represents the best solution. Before proceeding to pre-op, the patient should start avoiding soda, juices and milk. No eating is allowed in the day of the surgery. There are two main types of trigger finger surgery:
It involves a maximum thirty minutes procedure and local anaesthesia. Mild sedatives might be used in order for the patient to fully relax. After numbing the area, a small incision will be made in the palm of the hand, at the base of the affected finger. The doctor will cut the tube where the tendon sits (called a sheath) and checks if the capacity of moving is smoother. Stitches are used to close the incision.
This type of surgery is used especially for middle and ring fingers and it doesn’t involve any cut or incision. The skin around the affected tendon sheath needs to be broke down and removed. This can be done with the help of a sturdy needle which goes right next to the tendon to break the area that is being stiff. Ultrasound can be involved in case there is no certainty the tendon sheath was opened.
Immediately after the surgery, once the numbness goes away the patient will be able to slightly move the affected finger while noticing there is a possibility to move it all the way without any kind of restraint. Intense movement of the hand is not recommended the day right after the procedure. Strenuous work should be postponed until the finger is completely recovered. One or two weeks are recommended for a proper result. At least five days, the patient will need to wear a bandage on the affected finger while keeping the area dry for fast scarring.
Swelling will be involved if the patient won’t keep the affected hand above the heart in order to control the blood flow. Doing specific exercises at home or seeing a specialist for a quick recovery will be recommended by the doctor.
This procedure can also have complications if not performed correctly or if the post-op advice is not being followed. Here’s what may happen:
- Severe pain
- Tender scars
- Damaging of the nerves
Is the surgery painful?
No. The patient will be under local anaesthesia which means the affected area will be numb. It is not a painful process.
There will remain scars?
Scarring is normal whenever there are incisions. Depending on the type of procedure the patient will be choosing some scars will be more visible than others. In the most cases, scars are barely noticeable.
Will the recovery be complicated?
No. If the patient will be following the doctor’s advice, the recovery should work just as planned. The patient should grant more attention to taking care of the wound several weeks from the surgery. The recommended exercises for mobility will help the patient recover faster.