Got Locked Fingers?

Trigger Finger.  Nicholas Pappas III, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a Certificate of Added Qualifications (

While there are a number of causes for fingers getting stuck and not moving appropriately, one of the most common causes we see as orthopedic hand surgeons is a condition known as trigger finger (i.e. inflammation of the flexor tendons).

What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger is caused by inflammation in the flexor tendons of hand, often from overuse of your hands with repetitive activities such as texting or typing.  Other common causes include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or even trauma to the fingers.

How does it present?

Trigger finger usually presents with pain in the palm side of the finger with associated locking or catching of the affected finger. The pain and catching is often worse in the morning.

How can we evaluate it?

We can diagnose it by patient history and physical exam. 

How do we treat it?

Trigger finger can be treated non-operatively or operatively.  Initial treatment usually focuses on rest and oral anti-inflammatory medications to decrease swelling in the tendons.  Splinting can be attempted.  Corticosteroid injections (i.e. cortisone shots) are often recommended and can be highly effective.

When all non-operative measures fail, surgical treatment may be required.  Surgery involves making an incision over the affected finger and releasing the pressure on the flexor tendon by cutting a strap of tissue known as a pulley which overlies it.  This procedure is known as a trigger finger release and has very high success rates.

Author:

Nicholas Pappas III, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in hand surgery who specializes in various hand and upper extremity conditions.  He is the newest member of the Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine team and founder of NOLA Hand Surgery (nolahandsurgery.com). 

For appointments call 504-217-5319.

 

Author
Nick Pappas III, M.D. Nick Pappas III, M.D. Nicholas Pappas III, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in hand surgery who specializes in various hand and upper extremity conditions. He is the newest member of the Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine team and founder of NOLA Hand Surgery (nolahandsurgery.com) Dr. Pappas currently serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at both Tulane University and Louisiana State University. He is also a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and serves as a consultant reviewer for the prestigious Journal of Hand Surgery, American. He has an active interest in clinical research with over 30 peer-reviewed publications and multiple textbook chapters to his credit.

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