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One of the most common hand problems, trigger finger is a form of tendonitis of the finger flexing tendons. It involves the tendons and pulleys that bend the fingers. The tendons must glide along a series of pulley rings with a slick lining. If the pulley at the base of the finger becomes tight, the tendon cannot move freely. This leads to tendon swelling, catching, and locking, as well as problems with the use of the finger.
The exact cause of trigger finger is not clear. In some patients, it may be due to injury, may result from a cyst, or may be associated with medical conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid disease. In the majority of patients, however, it’s just a matter of chance.
Trigger finger symptoms include:
- Pain or swelling at the base of the finger near the knuckle
- Catching, locking, or popping in the finger
- Difficulty with gripping
- Stiffness of the finger
For first-time patients, surgery is not recommended, and the condition is usually treated non-surgically. For those with a repeat case, a simple outpatient surgical release can be performed to relieve the pain and allow the finger to move again easily.