People who have jobs where their fingers or thumbs are constantly gripping something, like power tools or steering wheels may suffer from a painful and irritating condition called trigger finger. It also affects people who have rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or gout. However, it is unknown exactly what the cause of trigger finger is. A popping or snapping sound occurs when straightening the finger, giving the condition its name. Extreme conditions of trigger finger may result in the finger becoming locked in a bent position.
Trigger finger is the result of the inflammation of the tendon or the sheath that surrounds the tendon. Nodules may form on the tendon, which prevent the tendon from moving freely within the sheath.
Symptoms of trigger finger may begin with soreness at the base of the finger or thumb. A painful clicking or popping may then occur when the finger is straightened. If the digit is not treated, it may then become locked.
The first step to ending trigger finger is to stop the repetitive motion that has caused it. Rest and a splint will often help, as will heat/cold treatment and anti-inflammatory medication. Corticosteroid injections may reduce swelling and pain, too, but it is not a permanent fix. If nothing seems to relieve the problem, surgery may be the best solution.
Surgery involves small incisions in the skin to remove the nodules around the tendon, as well as scar tissue that may have formed. After this, your finger or fingers should be back to normal after a period of rest. Therapy involving strengthening exercises will also help.