Close
New

Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.

 

Trigger Finger Treatment & Management

  • Author: Satishchandra Kale, MD, MS, MBBS, MCh, MBA, FRCS(Edin); Chief Editor: Harris Gellman, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jul 07, 2016
 

Approach Considerations

Early series recommended surgical treatment of trigger finger (TF) as straightforward and highly effective, while regarding prolonged conservative treatment as unreliable and expensive. Subsequent series documented poor results from surgical treatment in 7-9% of cases.

In 1972, Lapidus reversed his previous recommendation for operative treatment of TF after he and Guidotti reported uniformly good results following a single injection of prednisolone into the tendon sheath.[35] Rhoades et al subsequently reported a 72% success rate in a series of 53 digits following injection and immobilization.[36]

Injection therapy is now generally agreed to be the first line of management. Surgery is reserved for individuals in whom injection treatment has failed or in whom other pathology, particularly rheumatoid arthritis (RA), is suspected to be causing triggering that cannot be treated conservatively.[37] No absolute contraindications exist for surgical management.

In May 2014, the European HANDGUIDE Group published a guideline for multidisciplinary treatment of trigger finger.[38] By consensus, suitable treatment options were considered to include the following:

  • Orthoses (splinting)
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Corticosteroid injections plus use of orthoses
  • Surgery

Severity and duration of disease and prior treatments received were judged to be the primary factors influencing choice of therapy.[38]

Conservative treatment

Most trigger digits in adults can be managed successfully with local steroid injections and splinting.[39] Oral or topical pharmacologic measures have not been demonstrated to be effective.

The outcome of conservative treatment for pediatric trigger thumb is somewhat controversial.[40] A report by Baek et al on the natural history of this condition demonstrated that after a follow-up period of 5 years or more in patients who received no treatment for pediatric trigger thumb, complete resolution of flexion deformity occurred in 66 out of 87 thumbs (75.9%), and partial improvement occurred in the remaining 21 thumbs.[30, 41]

Another study, by Lee et al, reported that extension splinting for 12 weeks led to improvement in 71% of thumbs, compared with 23% improvement in patients not receiving any treatment.[42] See also the recommendations described by Ogino.[43]

Surgical release

The chief indications for surgical management of TF are as follows:

  • Failure of splinting and/or injection treatment
  • Irreducibly locked TF
  • Trigger thumb in infants - Without surgical release, these infants are likely to develop a fixed flexion deformity of the interphalangeal (IP) joint

Although the results of percutaneous release are well established, the open technique is absolutely essential for the thumb or little finger or in the presence of proximal interphalangeal (PIP) contractures. Percutaneous release should be reserved for the index, middle, and ring fingers.[6, 7, 8, 9]

In a study from Oxford comparing percutaneous and open surgical methods, the two approaches displayed similar effectiveness, and both proved superior to conservative corticosteroid-injection treatment with regard to trigger cure and relapse rates.[44]

In children, triggering has varying causes. Release of the A1 pulley alone does not always correct the problem. Additional treatment (eg, resection of one or both limbs of the flexor digitorum superficialis [FDS] tendon, A3 pulley release) may be required and is recommended in RA tenosynovitis.[9, 45, 46, 47]

In infants, the nodule on the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon can be resected with good results. Corticosteroid injections are generally not helpful in these cases of trigger thumb.

Pregnant patients

Splinting and local corticosteroid injection can be performed if the patient is pregnant. Surgical release of the A1 pulley is generally an elective procedure and is usually deferred until after delivery.

Elderly patients

In elderly patients with a history of gastrointestinal problems or other complications from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), consider cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors if oral NSAIDs are needed.

Consultations

Surgical consultation for operative treatment may be required. Typically, such procedures are performed by an orthopedic hand surgeon or a plastic surgeon.

Next

Corticosteroid Injection Into Tendon Sheath

Corticosteroid injection in the area of tendon sheath thickening is considered to be the first-line treatment of choice for TF.[48, 49, 50, 51, 10] Research in 2009 concluded that the most successful and cost-effective management strategy for TF is the algorithm of two steroid injections prior to surgical intervention, if needed.[52]

A variety of preparations have been used—most commonly prednisolone, dexamethasone, and triamcinolone—in the steroid injection treatment of TF, and most are uniformly successful in relieving symptoms.[53, 48, 54, 55]

A highly satisfactory rate of success can be predicted in female patients and in patients with single digit involvement, short duration of symptoms (ie, <4 months), no associated conditions (eg, RA, diabetes mellitus [DM]), or a discrete, palpable nodule. (Patients with RA or DM seem to be more resistant to injection treatment.)[26, 27, 56]

Procedure

The author's technique for steroid injection is as follows. A mixture of triamcinolone, 1% lidocaine, and 0.5% bupivacaine is used, in a ratio of 2:1:1, respectively; adrenaline is not used. The nodule in the palm is well localized and circled out using an indelible skin marker. The procedure is performed in an office setting, using strict aseptic precautions, with alcoholic povidone-iodine used for injection-site preparation. Ethyl chloride is used only if requested; frequently, it is unnecessary, and most patients tolerate this procedure quite well

A 26-gauge needle is introduced in a proximal-to-distal direction in the nodule, making an angle of 45° with the palm (see the first image below). The needle enters the nodule with a distinct grating sensation; positioning of the needle is verified by asking the patient to move the digit when it is possible to clearly observe the needle moving with the digit (see the second image below)

Introduction of needle into tendon sheath at 45° a Introduction of needle into tendon sheath at 45° angle to palm for injection treatment.
Movement of needle with flexion of digit confirms Movement of needle with flexion of digit confirms correct positioning of needle for injection treatment.

The syringe with the steroid preparation then is attached to the needle. Attempting to inject the drug with light pressure confirms the intratendinous location of the needle. Do not inject the solution if significant resistance to injection flow is noted, because this may indicate that the needle tip is in the tendon rather than just within the tendon sheath. The needle is withdrawn very carefully until a give-way sensation is felt, indicating that the tip of the needle is out of the tendon and in the sheath. The preparation is then injected.

A small water-impermeable dressing is applied. The patient is actively encouraged to move the digit; in most cases, the triggering is relieved

(Carlson and Curtis prefer a midaxial injection at the level of the midproximal phalanx as a simple and painless way to access the flexor sheath for the purpose of injection.[57] )

A follow-up appointment is made for 3-4 weeks after the treatment. Splinting is not used routinely for these cases, although a hand-based MP-block Orthoplast splint has been described as useful.

Although injection treatment has long been administered by "feel" and experience, research suggests that using ultrasonographically guided steroid injection may maximize the injection's accuracy and, consequently, its beneficial effects in the treatment of trigger digits.[58, 59]

No major complications from injection treatment are noted. A transient rise in blood and urine sugar levels is common in patients with diabetes. Advise these patients that this is likely to occur. Theoretically, repeated steroid injections could cause attrition and/or rupture of tendons, but only 1 such case has been reported to date.[60]

Pain relief

While corticosteroid injections into the palm are considered highly effective in treating TF, the injection itself may be significantly painful. A study that compared conventional injection with injection preceded by median and ulnar nerve blocks performed at the wrist found that of the study’s 19 patients, who were treated with 47 total injections, 88% preferred to have the median and ulnar nerve block prior to the injection.[61]

Both study groups, however, had excellent resolution of TF, with excellent resolution being defined in the study as an asymptomatic hand (without triggering) and a pain score on the 0-10 cm Visual Analog Scale of less than 2 cm.[61]

Repeat injections

A second corticosteroid injection may be performed 3-4 weeks after the first one. If two or perhaps three injections fail to provide adequate resolution, consider referring the patient for surgical release. Repetitive injections theoretically increase the likelihood of tendon rupture, although such a risk was not found in Anderson's study of repeated injections for TF.[62]

Alternative injection techniques

Proximal phalanx technique

Another injection method, the proximal phalanx technique, allows for injection directly into the tendon sheath through the palmar surface of the midproximal phalanx. Injections performed this way were found to be less painful than injecting the flexor tendon sheath directly over the metacarpal head. There was no statistically significant difference in the rate of recurrent pain between the two injection methods.[63]

Subcutaneous injection

Although corticosteroid injection has traditionally been administered into the tendon sheath (but not into the tendon itself),[60] studies now seem to indicate that subcutaneous injection may be as effective as the intrasheath approach.[64, 65, 66] Additionally, in some cases, steroid injection into the subcutaneous tissue seems to result in better clinical outcomes than does injection into the sheath alone.[64]

Previous
Next

Splinting

Custom-made splinting of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint is another conservative treatment, used in patients who do not wish to undergo a steroid injection or as an adjuvant to injection. Typically, a custom-made splint is used to hold the MCP joint of the involved finger at 10-15° of flexion, leaving the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) and distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints free. The average length of splinting is 6 weeks. In patients with symptoms longer than 6 months, splinting as a sole treatment strategy does not seem to eliminate the triggering events.[21]

Although traditionally splinting has not been thought to be an effective treatment for TF, one study of thermoplastic splinting of MCP joint flexion showed improvement in stenosing tenosynovitis, the numeric pain rating scale, and the number of triggering events and also demonstrated an overall perceived participant improvement in symptoms.[67] Another study determined that 87% of patients who wore custom-made, thermoplastic orthoses for 8-10 weeks did not require an injection or surgical intervention in the 1-year follow-up after institution of the orthoses.[68]

Previous
Next

Surgical Release

Trigger digits that fail to respond to two or perhaps three injections may require surgical treatment, including dissection of the nodule on the tendon and surgical release of the A1 pulley, under local anesthesia.

The benefits of operative treatment of trigger finger and trigger thumb were revealed in 3 studies of surgical pulley release.

Between 1994 and 2004, Li et al treated 7 children (9 thumbs; 3 right, 2 left, 2 bilateral) for trigger thumb with hyperextensible MCP anomaly (>60°) by surgical release of the first annular pulley (A1 pulley) and proximal advancement of the MCP volar plate. The patients (4 girls and 3 boys), who had a mean age of 46 months at surgery (range, 26-82 months), were observed over a mean follow-up period of 64 months (range, 1-8 years).

All patients in the study at last follow-up had returned to full activity without limitation or pain, and none of the patients had a recurrence of triggering or MCP hyperextension deformity, demonstrating, according to the authors, that trigger thumb with concomitant MCP hyperextension deformity can be treated in children by A1 pulley release and advancement of the volar plate.[13]

In a study of 93 trigger thumbs in 83 patients, Chao et al compared the results of miniscalpel-needle percutaneous release with those of steroid injection. At 12 months, 44 of the 46 trigger thumbs treated with the miniscalpel-needle release had satisfactory results (measured by visual analogue pain scale and patient satisfaction), but only 12 of 47 thumbs treated with steroid injection had satisfactory results. No nerve injuries occurred in either group.[69]

Trigger thumb in children almost always calls for surgical management. Trigger thumb in an adult not responding to corticosteroid tendon sheath injection needs surgery. The technique of release itself is irrelevant. Open and not percutaneous surgery is the norm for trigger thumb in children and adults alike, since the neurovascular bundles in the thumb are closer to the midline than in other digits. A single series as quoted above comparing the efficacy of percutaneous surgery vis-a-vis a corticosteroid injection still proves surgery is more effective than injection treatment, but this technique of surgical release itself is not ad rigeur.

Lange-Rieb et al presented long-term results of open operative treatment of TF and trigger thumb in adults. Of the operations performed, 210 (76%) were for a single-digit release and 76 (24%) for multiple digits. All operations were performed under tourniquet control with local anaesthesia as outpatient procedures using a transverse incision just distal to the distal palmar crease or on the flexor crease of the thumb at the MCP joint. At latest follow-up (average, 14.3 y), 234 patients were evaluated, with no complaints, and there were no serious complications, such as nerve transection or bowstringing, or recurrence.[70]

Preparation for surgery

Preoperative considerations include the following:

  • Only digits that actively trigger must be considered for operative release
  • Neither PIP contracture nor thumb triggering is suitable for percutaneous release, and the A1 pulley always is transected under direct vision
  • Patients with PIP joint contractures undergo a period of hand therapy and splinting prior to the procedure
  • A tourniquet always is used to obtain a clean operative field
  • Approximately 4-5 mL of 1% lignocaine is used to infiltrate the skin overlying the A1 pulley, with injection performed deeper to the tendon sheath
  • The transverse incision is marked with a skin marker corresponding to the digit to be surgically treated (see the image below)
  • The proximal edge of the A1 pulley coincides almost exactly with the distal palmar crease in the fourth and fifth rays, with the proximal palmar crease in the index and with the halfway point between the two creases in the middle finger
Incision marked out in distal palmar crease for su Incision marked out in distal palmar crease for surgical division of A1 pulley.

Operative details

The MCP joint is hyperextended to displace the neurovascular structures dorsally, minimizing the risk of injury.

A transverse incision measuring 1-1.5 cm is made over the involved metacarpal head. Blunt dissection is used to spread the subcutaneous fat and expose the tendon sheath.

The proximal edge of the A1 pulley is identified, and a scalpel blade is used to divide the entire A1 pulley in the midline under vision. Care is taken to avoid incising too distally and risk cutting into the A2 pulley, which can result in bowstringing. A study suggests that the proximal part of the A2 pulley can be safely incised if the release of the A1 pulley in isolation does not result in relief of triggering.[71] This is still experimental and is best left to hand or plastic and reconstructive surgeons.

The patient is asked to actively move the digit to confirm full release. Meticulous hemostasis is achieved with a bipolar cautery, and the wound is closed with two or three skin sutures. The hand is left free, and motion is encouraged immediately following the procedure.

If a percutaneous approach is favored, a pair of blunt-tipped, fine scissors is introduced through the incision, and the A1 pulley is transected (see the image below). Care is taken not to drift too distally. Disappearance of a grating sensation indicates complete section of the pulley through a separate, distal oblique incision.

A1 pulley is sectioned by using blunt-tipped, fine A1 pulley is sectioned by using blunt-tipped, fine scissors, keeping strictly in midline. Note digit being held in hyperextended position by assistant to displace neurovascular bundles away from midline.

A study by Rogo-Manaute et al showed that it is possible to use ultrasonographically guided percutaneous release to achieve a success rate of 100%. With adequate anatomic knowledge, technical training, and a basic ultrasound machine, sonographically directed A1 pulley release can be performed safely and successfully, thus offering an alternative to conventional open technique.[72]

On rare occasions, sectioning the A1 pulley does not relieve triggering, indicating that the A3 pulley might be involved. If that is the case, the A3 pulley requires division. This percutaneous technique as described here usually applies to most cases of triggering, exceptions being surgery for trigger thumb in children and triggering involved in conditions like RA, in which the nodule formation may be distal to the A1 pulley and for which open surgery may be required.

Trigger thumb

Surgery for trigger thumb is performed as follows. The A1 pulley is approached through a transverse incision in the flexion crease overlying the MCP joint (see the image below). Palpate the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) to ensure that the incision is centered appropriately.

Incision for trigger thumb release placed in MP fl Incision for trigger thumb release placed in MP flexion crease, centered over flexor tendon nodule.

Bluntly dissect through subcutaneous tissue; identify and gently retract radial and ulnar neurovascular bundles. Expose the A1 pulley, identify its proximal and distal edges, and incise it longitudinally (see the first image below).[73]  Avoid injury to the underlying tendon (see the second image below).

Trigger thumb. A1 pulley exposed within surgical f Trigger thumb. A1 pulley exposed within surgical field (arrow). Digital neurovascular bundles behind retractors.
Trigger thumb. A1 pulley has been released; flexor Trigger thumb. A1 pulley has been released; flexor pollicis longus tendon now exposed. Retractors have been removed to demonstrate proximity of neurovascular bundles (arrows) to tendon.

Inspect the tendon nodule during full passive motion of the interphalangeal (IP) joint. Ensure that no further restrictions to excursion are present. A band of tissue proximal to A1 may exist that also requires release.[74]  Observe FPL excursion while the patient actively flexes the thumb to verify a complete surgical decompression.

Deflate the tourniquet, obtain hemostasis, and close the incision with nylon. Dress the wound with a soft compressive bandage

Postoperative care

Active motion is encouraged on the day of surgery. Anti-inflammatory drugs and elevation are advised for a period of 2-3 days following surgery. Sutures are removed on postoperative day 10.[75]

Previous
Next

Kapandji Enlargement-Plasty of A1 Pulley

Future treatment for TF may involve Kapandji enlargement-plasty of the A1 pulley. In this procedure, which is complex and technically demanding, the A1 pulley is enlarged by making a diagonal incision in it, followed by suture instead of simple longitudinal division, thus increasing the mean diameter of the canal.

In a study by Migaud et al, 15 patients who underwent this procedure and who were followed up for a mean period of 5 years had complete symptomatic relief without any recurrences.[76]

Previous
Next

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is generally not required for patients with TF. For cases of chronic TF, however, treatment may include a trial of heating modalities followed by sustained, nonballistic stretching of the flexor tendon, as well as soft-tissue mobilization of the A1 pulley. Following injection or surgery, a home exercise (stretching) program may be one component of treatment for patients. No therapy programs have been documented to improve TF.

Previous
Next

Occupational Therapy

If a trial of therapy is recommended for patients with chronic TF or for individuals who require postoperative hand therapy, the physician may refer them to either a physical therapist or an occupational therapist, depending on his/her preference and the therapists' availability. The treatment provided by an occupational therapist is very similar to the above-discussed physical therapy treatment. In addition, the occupational therapist may provide a patient with strategies for completing activities of daily living (ADL) with limited or no use of the affected hand while it is splinted or is recovering from surgery.

Previous
Next

Complications

Corticosteroid injection

Potential complications of corticosteroid injection include the following:

  • Infection - The use of sterile technique can minimize this problem
  • Bleeding
  • Weakening of the tendon
  • Fat atrophy occurring locally at the injection site
  • Nerve infiltration and subsequent nerve injury - This complication is uncommon; it can be monitored by assessing sensation throughout the affected digit

Bleeding

This can be minimized by applying direct pressure immediately after the procedure. Caution should be exercised before injecting a patient who is taking anticoagulants or an individual with a bleeding disorder

Weakening of tendon

Weakening of the tendon increases the risk of subsequent tendon rupture, a possibility that is of particular concern if the injection is performed incorrectly (specifically, if the injection is administered into the tendon itself rather than just within the tendon sheath).[60, 77]

A study demonstrated that ultrasonographically guided injections were safer than blind injections in that 30% of fingers injected blindly demonstrated dye within the tendon, while no tendon injected under ultrasonographic imaging was infiltrated with dye.[37]

The risk of tendon rupture may increase with multiple injections, although at least some clinical researchers (eg, Anderson and Kaye) found no episodes of tendon rupture after corticosteroid injection for TF, even with repeated injections.[62]

Fat atrophy

Fat atrophy can occur locally at the injection site if the corticosteroid is injected into the subcutaneous tissue. This complication can cause a cosmetic depression in the skin, and tenderness can result from the loss of padding provided by the fat.

Surgical release

If the surgeon maintains a careful surgical technique, the incidence of complications should be low.[70] Potential complications of TF surgery include the following:

  • Tenderness over the site of the incision - This occurs quite frequently but usually settles on its own
  • Adhesions and subsequent stiffness - This may develop with excessive handling of the tendon or delayed postoperative mobilization
  • Digital nerve injury - Overall, this is extremely rare, even though the digital nerves lie within 2-3 mm of the midline; prompt repair or reconstruction is indicated in the event of this unfortunate complication; observation for suspected neurapraxia is appropriate; digital nerve transection is the most common complication reported after trigger thumb surgery; the radial digital nerve is injured more frequently because of its superficial location and oblique course over the flexor sheath
  • Superficial scoring of the FDS tendon - This has been reported frequently but does not require further treatment
  • Accidental cutting into the A2 pulley - This can cause bowstringing, with loss of full finger flexion; pulley exploration and reconstruction may be indicated if bowstringing does not resolve
  • Scarring - This is more likely to occur after TF surgery than after trigger thumb surgery
  • Recurrence - This has been reported but is extremely rare
  • Infection - This is a risk in patients who are diabetic or immunosuppressed and may be problematic if septic flexor tenosynovitis results

Research has shown no statistically significant differences in surgical complication rates between persons with diabetes and those without it. This was also found to be true when patients with type 1 diabetes were compared with individuals who had type 2 diabetes.[49]

Previous
 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Satishchandra Kale, MD, MS, MBBS, MCh, MBA, FRCS(Edin) FRCS(Tr & Orth), FRCS(Edin), MCh(Orth), Diploma in Sports and Exercise Medicine(UK), MS(Orthopaedics)

Satishchandra Kale, MD, MS, MBBS, MCh, MBA, FRCS(Edin) is a member of the following medical societies: British Orthopaedic Association, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Bombay Orthopedic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Harris Gellman, MD Consulting Surgeon, Broward Hand Center; Voluntary Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Plastic Surgery, Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Surgery, University of Miami, Leonard M Miller School of Medicine, Clinical Professor, Surgery, Nova Southeastern School of Medicine

Harris Gellman, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Arkansas Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Michael T Andary, MD, MS Professor, Residency Program Director, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Michael T Andary, MD, MS is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, American Medical Association, and Association of Academic Physiatrists

Disclosure: Allergan Honoraria Speaking and teaching

atrick M Foye, MD Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Co-Director of Musculoskeletal Fellowship, Co-Director of Back Pain Clinic, Director of Coccyx Pain Service (Tailbone Pain Service: www.TailboneDoctor.com), University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School

Patrick M Foye, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, Association of Academic Physiatrists, and International Spine Intervention Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Joseph E Sheppard, MD Professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery, Chief of Hand and Upper Extremity Service, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, University Physicians Healthcare

Joseph E Sheppard, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and Orthopaedics Overseas

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

David R Steinberg, MD Director of Hand Fellowship, Associate Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Health System

David R Steinberg, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Society for Surgery of the Hand

Disclosure: Johnson & Johnson nothing received, but have long-term ownership of public equities none

Todd P Stitik, MD Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Director, Outpatient Occupational/Musculoskeletal Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School

Todd P Stitik, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Association of Academic Physiatrists, Phi Beta Kappa, and Physiatric Association of Spine, Sports and Occupational Rehabilitation

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

Robert E Windsor, MD, FAAPMR, FAAEM, FAAPM President and Director, Georgia Pain Physicians, PC; Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Emory University School of Medicine

Robert E Windsor, MD, FAAPMR, FAAEM, FAAPM is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Association, International Association for the Study of Pain, and Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgments

The authors and editors of Medscape Reference would like to thank medical students Dena Abdelshahed and Leia Rispoli, plus Drs. Debra Ibrahim, Evish Kamrava, Jason Lee, Cyrus Kao, and Dev Sinha, for their help in previous revisions of a source article.

References
  1. Fam AG. Regional pain problems. Klippel JH, Dieppe PA, eds. Practical Rheumatology. London, England: Mosby; 1997.

  2. Trigger finger. Snider RK, ed. Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care. Rosemont, Ill: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 1997. 249-53.

  3. Strakowski JA, Wiand JW, Johnson EW. Upper limb musculoskeletal pain syndromes. Braddom RL, ed. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 1996. 756-82.

  4. Bae DS. Pediatric trigger thumb. J Hand Surg Am. 2008 Sep. 33(7):1189-91. [Medline].

  5. Kim HR, Lee SH. Ultrasonographic assessment of clinically diagnosed trigger fingers. Rheumatol Int. 2009 Oct 23. [Medline].

  6. Bamroongshawgasame T. A comparison of open and percutaneous pulley release in trigger digits. J Med Assoc Thai. 2010 Feb. 93(2):199-204. [Medline].

  7. Will R, Lubahn J. Complications of open trigger finger release. J Hand Surg Am. 2010 Apr. 35(4):594-6. [Medline].

  8. Schramm JM, Nguyen M, Wongworawat MD. The safety of percutaneous trigger finger release. Hand (N Y). 2008 Mar. 3(1):44-6. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  9. Masquijo JJ, Ferreyra A, Lanfranchi L, Torres-Gomez A, Allende V. Percutaneous Trigger Thumb Release in Children: Neither Effective Nor Safe: A Cross-over Controlled Trial. J Pediatr Orthop. 2013 Dec 6. [Medline].

  10. Schubert C, Hui-Chou HG, See AP, Deune EG. Corticosteroid injection therapy for trigger finger or thumb: a retrospective review of 577 digits. Hand (N Y). 2013 Dec. 8(4):439-44. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  11. Rodgers WB, Waters PM. Incidence of trigger digits in newborns. J Hand Surg Am. 1994 May. 19(3):364-8. [Medline].

  12. De Smet L, Steenwerckx A, Van Ransbeeck H. The so-called congenital trigger digit: further experience. Acta Orthop Belg. 1998 Sep. 64(3):306-8. [Medline].

  13. Li Z, Wiesler ER, Smith BP, Koman LA. Surgical treatment of pediatric trigger thumb with metacarpophalangeal hyperextension laxity. Hand (N Y). 2009 Dec. 4(4):380-4. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  14. Marks MR, Gunther SF. Efficacy of cortisone injection in treatment of trigger fingers and thumbs. J Hand Surg [Am]. 1989 Jul. 14(4):722-7. [Medline].

  15. Breen TF. Wrist and hand. Steinberg GG, Akins CM, Baran DT, eds. Orthopaedics in Primary Care. 3rd ed. Baltimore, Md: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1999. 99-138.

  16. Brinker MR, Miller MD. The adult hand. Fundamentals of Orthopaedics. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 1999. 196-220.

  17. McGee DJ. Forearm, wrist and hand. Orthopedic Physical Assessment. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 1992. 168-215.

  18. Miyamoto H, Miura T, Isayama H, Masuzaki R, Koike K, Ohe T. Stiffness of the first annular pulley in normal and trigger fingers. J Hand Surg Am. 2011 Sep. 36(9):1486-91. [Medline].

  19. Hueston JT, Wilson WF. The aetiology of trigger finger explained on the basis of intratendinous architecture. Hand. 1972 Oct. 4(3):257-60. [Medline].

  20. Sampson SP, Badalamente MA, Hurst LC, et al. Pathobiology of the human A1 pulley in trigger finger. J Hand Surg [Am]. 1991 Jul. 16(4):714-21. [Medline].

  21. Ryzewicz M, Wolf JM. Trigger digits: principles, management, and complications. J Hand Surg Am. 2006 Jan. 31(1):135-46. [Medline].

  22. Kumar P, Chakrabarti I. Idiopathic carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger: is there an association?. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2009 Feb. 34(1):58-9. [Medline].

  23. Grandizio LC, Beck JD, Rutter MR, Graham J, Klena JC. The incidence of trigger digit after carpal tunnel release in diabetic and nondiabetic patients. J Hand Surg Am. 2014 Feb. 39(2):280-5. [Medline].

  24. Freiberg A, Mulholland RS, Levine R. Nonoperative treatment of trigger fingers and thumbs. J Hand Surg (Am). 1989. May 14(3):553-8. [Medline].

  25. Griggs SM, Weiss AP, Lane LB, et al. Treatment of trigger finger in patients with diabetes mellitus. J Hand Surg [Am]. 1995 Sep. 20(5):787-9. [Medline].

  26. Stahl S, Kanter Y, Karnielli E. Outcome of trigger finger treatment in diabetes. J Diabetes Complications. 1997 Sep-Oct. 11(5):287-90. [Medline].

  27. Baumgarten KM, Gerlach D, Boyer MI. Corticosteroid injection in diabetic patients with trigger finger. A prospective, randomized, controlled double-blinded study. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2007 Dec. 89(12):2604-11. [Medline].

  28. Moriya K, Uchiyama T, Kawaji Y. Comparison of the surgical outcomes for trigger finger and trigger thumb: preliminary results. Hand Surg. July 2005. 10(1):83-6. [Medline].

  29. Leung OY, Ip FK, Wong TC, Wan SH. Trigger thumbs in children: results of surgical release. Hong Kong Med J. 2011 Oct. 17(5):372-5. [Medline].

  30. Baek GH, Lee HJ. The natural history of pediatric trigger thumb: a study with a minimum of five years follow-up. Clin Orthop Surg. 2011 Jun. 3(2):157-9. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  31. Moore JS. Flexor tendon entrapment of the digits (trigger finger and trigger thumb). J Occup Environ Med. 2000 May. 42(5):526-45. [Medline].

  32. Moriya K, Uchiyama T, Kouda H, Kawaji Y. Acromegaly as a cause of trigger finger. Scand J Plast Reconstr Surg Hand Surg. 2009. 43(4):236-8. [Medline].

  33. Drossos K, Remmelink M, Nagy N, de Maertelaer V, Pasteels JL, Schuind F. Correlations between clinical presentations of adult trigger digits and histologic aspects of the A1 pulley. J Hand Surg Am. 2009 Oct. 34(8):1429-35. [Medline].

  34. Tung WL, Kuo LC, Lai KY, Jou IM, Sun YN, Su FC. Quantitative evidence of kinematics and functional differences in different graded trigger fingers. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2010 Apr 16. [Medline].

  35. zzz. Stenosing tenovaginitis of the wrist and fingers. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1972 Mar-Apr. 83:87-90. [Medline].

  36. Rhoades CE, Gelberman RH, Manjarris JF. Stenosing tenosynovitis of the fingers and thumb. Results of a prospective trial of steroid injection and splinting. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1984 Nov. 236-8. [Medline].

  37. Hoppenfeld S, deBoer P. Surgical Exposures in Orthopaedics: The Anatomic Approach. Philadelphia, Pa: JB Lippincott; 1984.

  38. [Guideline] Huisstede BM, Hoogvliet P, Coert JH, Fridén J. Multidisciplinary Consensus Guideline for Managing Trigger Finger: Results From the European HANDGUIDE Study. Phys Ther. 2014 May 8. [Medline].

  39. Murphy D, Failla JM, Koniuch MP, et al. Steroid versus placebo injection for trigger finger. J Hand Surg [Am]. 1995 Jul. 20(4):628-31. [Medline].

  40. Patel MR, Bassini L. Trigger fingers and thumb: when to splint, inject, or operate. J Hand Surg Am. 1992 Jan. 17(1):110-3. [Medline].

  41. Baek GH, Kim JH, Chung MS, Kang SB, Lee YH, Gong HS. The natural history of pediatric trigger thumb. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008 May. 90(5):980-5. [Medline].

  42. Lee ZL, Chang CH, Yang WY, Hung SS, Shih CH. Extension splint for trigger thumb in children. J Pediatr Orthop. Nov-Dec/2006. 26:785-7.

  43. Ogino T. Trigger thumb in children: current recommendations for treatment. J Hand Surg Am. 2008 Jul-Aug. 33(6):982-4. [Medline].

  44. Sato ES, Gomes Dos Santos JB, Belloti JC, Albertoni WM, Faloppa F. Treatment of trigger finger: randomized clinical trial comparing the methods of corticosteroid injection, percutaneous release and open surgery. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2012 Jan. 51(1):93-9. [Medline].

  45. Cardon LJ, Ezaki M, Carter PR. Trigger finger in children. J Hand Surg [Am]. 1999 Nov. 24(6):1156-61. [Medline].

  46. Ashford JS, Bidic SM. Evaluation of pediatric trigger thumb in the Hispanic population at a southwest urban medical center. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Oct. 124(4):1221-4. [Medline].

  47. Wolfe SW. Tenosynovitis. Green DP, ed. Green's Operative Hand Surgery. 4th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 1998. vol 2:

  48. Peters-Veluthamaningal C, Winters JC, Groenier KH, et al. Corticosteroid injections effective for trigger finger in adults in general practice: a double-blinded randomized placebo controlled trial. Ann Rheum Dis. 2008 Jan 7. [Medline].

  49. Nimigan AS, Ross DC, Gan BS. Steroid injections in the management of trigger fingers. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2006 Jan. 85(1):36-43. [Medline].

  50. Fleisch SB, Spindler KP, Lee DH. Corticosteroid injections in the treatment of trigger finger: a level I and II systematic review. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2007 Mar. 15(3):166-71. [Medline].

  51. Geiringer SR. Tendon sheath and insertion injections. Lennard TA, ed. Physiatric Procedures in Clinical Practice. Philadelphia, Pa: Hanley & Belfus; 1995. 44-8.

  52. Kerrigan CL, Stanwix MG. Using evidence to minimize the cost of trigger finger care. J Hand Surg Am. Jul-Aug 2009. 34;(6):997-1005.

  53. Ring D, Lozano-Calderón S, Shin R, et al. A prospective randomized controlled trial of injection of dexamethasone versus triamcinolone for idiopathic trigger finger. J Hand Surg [Am]. 2008 Apr. 33(4):516-22. [Medline].

  54. Chambers RG Jr. Corticosteroid injections for trigger finger. Am Fam Physician. 2009 Sep 1. 80(5):454. [Medline].

  55. Mol MF, Neuhaus V, Becker SJ, Jupiter JB, Mudgal C, Ring D. Resolution and recurrence rates of idiopathic trigger finger after corticosteroid injection. Hand (N Y). 2013 Jun. 8(2):183-90. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  56. Rozental TD, Zurakowski D, Blazar PE. Trigger finger: prognostic indicators of recurrence following corticosteroid injection. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008 Aug. 90(8):1665-72. [Medline].

  57. Carlson CS, Curtis RM. Steroid injection for flexor tenosynovitis. J Hand Surg [Am]. 1984 Mar. 9(2):286-7. [Medline].

  58. Godey SK, Bhatti WA, Watson JS, et al. A technique for accurate and safe injection of steroid in trigger digits using ultrasound guidance. Acta Orthop Belg. Oct 2006. 72(5):633-4. [Medline].

  59. Lee DH, Han SB, Park JW, Lee SH, Kim KW, Jeong WK. Sonographically guided tendon sheath injections are more accurate than blind injections: implications for trigger finger treatment. J Ultrasound Med. 2011 Feb. 30(2):197-203. [Medline].

  60. Jianmongkol S, Kosuwon W, Thammaroj T. Intra-tendon sheath injection for trigger finger: the randomized controlled trial. Hand Surg. 2007. 12(2):79-82. [Medline].

  61. Sibbitt WL Jr, Michael AA, Poole JL, Chavez-Chiang NR, Delea SL, Bankhurst AD. Nerve blocks at the wrist for painful injections of the palm. J Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Jun. 17(4):173-8. [Medline].

  62. Anderson B, Kaye S. Treatment of flexor tenosynovitis of the hand ('trigger finger') with corticosteroids. A prospective study of the response to local injection. Arch Intern Med. 1991 Jan. 151(1):153-6. [Medline].

  63. Pataradool K, Buranapuntaruk T. Proximal phalanx injection for trigger finger: randomized controlled trial. Hand Surg. 2011. 16(3):313-7. [Medline].

  64. Akhtar S, Bradley MJ, Quinton DN, Burke FD. Management and referral for trigger finger/thumb. BMJ. 2005 Jul 2. 331(7507):30-3. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  65. Taras JS, Raphael JS, Pan WT, Movagharnia F, Sotereanos DG. Corticosteroid injections for trigger digits: is intrasheath injection necessary?. J Hand Surg Am. 1998 Jul. 23(4):717-22. [Medline].

  66. Shinomiya R, Sunagawa T, Nakashima Y, Yoshizuka M, Adachi N. Impact of Corticosteroid Injection Site on the Treatment Success Rate of Trigger Finger: A Prospective Study Comparing Ultrasound-Guided True Intra-sheath and True Extra-sheath Injections. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2016 Jun 27. [Medline].

  67. Colbourn J, Heath N, Manary S, Pacifico D. Effectiveness of splinting for the treatment of trigger finger. J Hand Ther. 2008 Oct-Dec. 21(4):336-43. [Medline].

  68. Valdes K. A retrospective review to determine the long-term efficacy of orthotic devices for trigger finger. J Hand Ther. 2012 Jan-Mar. 25(1):89-95; quiz 96. [Medline].

  69. Chao M, Wu S, Yan T. The effect of miniscalpel-needle versus steroid injection for trigger thumb release. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2009 Aug. 34(4):522-5. [Medline].

  70. Lange-Riess D, Schuh R, Hönle W, Schuh A. Long-term results of surgical release of trigger finger and trigger thumb in adults. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2009 Dec. 129(12):1617-9. [Medline].

  71. Al-Qattan MM. Trigger fingers requiring simultaneous division of the A1 pulley and the proximal part of the A2 pulley. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. Oct 2007. 32(5):521-3. [Medline].

  72. Rojo-Manaute JM, Rodríguez-Maruri G, Capa-Grasa A, Chana-Rodríguez F, Soto Mdel V, Martín JV. Sonographically guided intrasheath percutaneous release of the first annular pulley for trigger digits, part 1: clinical efficacy and safety. J Ultrasound Med. 2012 Mar. 31(3):417-24. [Medline].

  73. Hazani R, Whitney RD, Redstone J, Chowdhry S, Wilhelmi BJ. Safe treatment of trigger thumb with longitudinal anatomic landmarks. Eplasty. 2010 Sep 15. 10:[Medline]. [Full Text].

  74. Boretto J, Alfie V, Donndorff A, Gallucci G, DE Carli P. A prospective clinical study of the A1 pulley in trigger thumbs. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2008 Jun. 33(3):260-5. [Medline].

  75. Gulabi D, Cecen GS, Bekler HI, Saglam F, Tanju N. A study of 60 patients with percutaneous trigger finger releases: clinical and ultrasonographic findings. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2014 Jan 8. [Medline].

  76. Migaud H, Fontaine C, Brazier J, et al. [Kapandji enlargement plasty of A1 pulley. Results in 15 primary trigger fingers with a 5 year (2-8 years) follow-up]. Ann Chir Main Memb Super. 1996. 15(1):37-41; discussion 42. [Medline].

  77. Fitzgerald BT, Hofmeister EP, Fan RA, Thompson MA. Delayed flexor digitorum superficialis and profundus ruptures in a trigger finger after a steroid injection: a case report. J Hand Surg Am. 2005 May. 30(3):479-82. [Medline].

  78. Peters-Veluthamaningal C, van der Windt DA, Winters JC, Meyboom-de Jong B. Corticosteroid injection for trigger finger in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jan 21. CD005617. [Medline].

 
Previous
Next
 
Flexor tendons pass within tendon sheath and beneath A1 pulley at approximately metacarpal head, beyond which they travel into digit.
Inflamed nodule can restrict tendon from passing smoothly beneath A1 pulley. If nodule is distal to A1 pulley (as shown in this sketch), then digit may get stuck in extended position. Conversely, if nodule is proximal to A1 pulley, then patient's digit is more likely to become stuck in flexed position.
Trigger finger often results in difficulty flexing or (in this case) extending metacarpophalangeal joint of involved digit.
Introduction of needle into tendon sheath at 45° angle to palm for injection treatment.
Movement of needle with flexion of digit confirms correct positioning of needle for injection treatment.
Incision marked out in distal palmar crease for surgical division of A1 pulley.
A1 pulley is sectioned by using blunt-tipped, fine scissors, keeping strictly in midline. Note digit being held in hyperextended position by assistant to displace neurovascular bundles away from midline.
Incision for trigger thumb release placed in MP flexion crease, centered over flexor tendon nodule.
Trigger thumb. A1 pulley exposed within surgical field (arrow). Digital neurovascular bundles behind retractors.
Trigger thumb. A1 pulley has been released; flexor pollicis longus tendon now exposed. Retractors have been removed to demonstrate proximity of neurovascular bundles (arrows) to tendon.
 
 
 
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.