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Physical Therapy for Trigger Finger – Information, Exercises, and More

You feel a catching sensation when you bend your finger.

The pain and loss of finger movement have made it difficult to complete daily activities. 

You could be feeling symptoms of trigger finger.

In this guide, we will talk about the signs and symptoms of trigger finger, and what treatment options can help relieve your symptoms.

What is Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a painful condition in which one of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position. 

You may feel a catch in your finger when you bend or straighten it as if you were pulling and releasing a trigger. 

In severe cases, trigger finger can result in the finger being locked in a bent position.

What Causes Trigger Finger?

Repetitive movements or forceful use of the fingers can cause trigger finger. 

When the tendon sheath in the finger becomes inflamed, it interferes with the gliding motion of the tendon through the sheath, resulting in trigger finger. 

Scarring, thickening, and bumps from prolonged irritation can further impede the tendon’s motion.

Trigger Finger Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that can result in the development of trigger finger, including: 

  • Repetitive gripping. Hobbies and occupations that require repetitive gripping or forceful use of the fingers can increase your risk for developing trigger finger. 
  • Your gender. One study shows that women are 6 times more likely to develop trigger finger than men.
  • Certain medical conditions. Individuals suffering from diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk for developing trigger finger
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery. Trigger finger can be a complication from carpal tunnel syndrome surgery.

Trigger Finger Symptoms

Trigger finger can occur in any finger and can affect multiple fingers at once. 

Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the amount of inflammation present. 

If you have trigger finger, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms: 

  • Stiffness in the finger, especially in the morning
  • Feeling a popping or clicking sensation when bending the finger
  • A bump or tenderness at the base of the finger
  • Feeling a catching sensation when the finger is in a bent position that suddenly pops straight
  • Inability to straighten the finger form a bent position

If the finger joint is inflamed and hot to touch, seek medical treatment immediately as this can be a sign of infection.

It is important to speak to your doctor about your symptoms, as other hand injuries need to be ruled out. 

Trigger Finger Treatment

Treatment for trigger finger can depend on the severity of the condition. 

Let’s take a look at some treatment options that may be recommended to you. 

Medications

Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen may be prescribed to help reduce pain. 

These medications are unlikely to relieve the swelling in the tendon sheath that is causing your trigger finger.

Finger Splint

Avoidance of activities requiring repetitive finger grip or use of hand-held machinery that causes vibrations is recommended. 

Your doctor may prescribe a finger brace to wear at night in order to help keep the finger straight and rest the tendon. 

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may help increase mobility in your finger.

Manual therapies alongside stretching and strengthening exercises can help encourage the normal gliding motion of your tendon.

Your doctor may prescribe trigger finger physical therapy after surgery or as a preventative measure to avoid surgery. 

Steroid Injections

Steroid injections are the most common treatment for trigger finger. 

Steroid injections can help decrease inflammation in or around the tendon sheath and allow the tendon to move freely again. 

The effect of steroid shots can last up to a year or more in most cases, but some people may need more than one injection for relief. 

Studies show that steroid injection treatment can be less effective in people with diabetes.

Surgery

If conservative treatments do not work, surgery may be required. 

There are two types of surgery that may be performed for trigger finger: 

  • Percutaneous Release. This procedure can be done in a doctor’s office under local anesthetic. A needle is inserted into the area around the tendon and is moved around to help loosen the tendon and improve function. 
  • Trigger Finger Release Surgery. This procedure takes place in an operating room under general anesthesia. The doctor makes a small cut in the finger to open the constricted tendon sheath.

Trigger Finger Physical Therapy – Will PT Help?

Yes.

Physical therapy can help increase the mobilization of your affected tendon.

Manual therapy along with a series of specialized exercises can help decrease trigger finger symptoms and pain.

Best Trigger Finger Physical Therapy Exercises

It is important to always consult with a Doctor of Physical Therapy before attempting any physical therapy exercises on your own. 

Let’s take a look at some exercises that may be part of your physical therapy treatment. 

Manual Therapy

A physical therapist may use manual therapy to help relieve your symptoms. 

Gentle massaging and manual therapy techniques can help:

  • Release scar tissue 
  • Decrease pain
  • Reduce catching in the finger

Stretching Exercises

It is important for healing to maintain the movement of your affected finger. 

Stretching exercises can help increase the immobilization of the tendon.

Strengthening Exercises

Your physical therapist may assess the strength of muscles in your hand and develop a series of strengthening exercises for you to follow. 

Strengthening the surrounding muscles in the hand can increase muscular support and take some stress off of the affected tendon. 

How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Trigger Finger

In Motion O.C. has helped hundreds of people like you suffering from trigger finger. 

Don’t let trigger finger keep you from doing activities that you love. 

As the #1 rated physical therapy clinic on Yelp! and Google, we are dedicated to helping relieve your symptoms.

In Motion O.C.