Trigger fingers cause pain in the palm of the hand and snapping, clicking or triggering of the involved finger. In the early stages finger movement is uneven and if untreated, this progresses to snapping of the finger as one makes a fist. With time, the finger gets unexpectedly locked when one tries to hold an object. Finally, the finger locks in bent position as the tendon gets locked outside the flexor tendon sheath or the sleeve. Rarely, the patient cannot make a full fist as tendon becomes locked inside the sleeve of the tendon. It is painful to unsnap and straighten the finger. Finally, the finger becomes locked in the bent position and cannot be unlocked any more. Trigger finger may occur in one or more fingers at the same time or may occur in different fingers at different times.
The condition can be treated in two ways:
A small quantity of steroid is injected around the tendon flattening out the swelling of the tendon which then allows it to run smoothly in and out of the sheath once more. In some cases a further injection is necessary.
If steroid injections fail to work surgery becomes necessary which is carried out under local anaesthetic. Surgery widens the opening of the tunnel so the tendon can slide through more easily. This is usually done through a small incision in the palm. Sometimes the tunnel can be safely opened with the tip of a needle. Some soreness in the palm is common but recovery is usually complete in a few weeks.