How Is Trigger Finger Diagnosed
The diagnosis is pretty straightforward. A doctor will look at your medical history and ask you to bend your fingers. He might also check to see if there is a bump on the finger caused by the inflammation.
Treatment varies. It can be simply an anti-inflammatory if the case is mild, a splint that you wear at night, or possible surgery if the condition is severe. I will forewarn you that if you research trigger finger treatment the surgery part does not sound pleasant at all.
However, if the case is severe and the finger is stuck in that bent position, I can absolutely see where surgery would be needed to straighten the finger. I never want to scare anyone. My intention is to educate so everyone knows about this. I had no clue there was such a thing. I am guessing that a lot of you didnt know either.
Symptoms Of Trigger Finger And Trigger Thumb
- Your finger or thumb clicks, locks or pops when you try to straighten it from a fist
- Your finger or thumb gets stuck in a bent position
- Your finger or thumb locks in a bent position then suddenly springs straight
- Your finger or thumb is stiff, especially in the morning
- Your finger or thumb hurts at the base, near your palm
What Are Rheumatoid Arthritis Nodules
Rheumatoid nodules are firm, noticeable lumps that form underneath the skin of some rheumatoid arthritis patients. They generally form on or near the base of the arthritic joints.
Typically, rheumatoid nodules appear in the following locations:
- Fingers and knuckles
- Backs of heels
Less commonly, nodules may form in the eyes, lungs and vocal cords but these represent severe cases.
Furthermore, rheumatoid nodules can vary in size and shape. Most nodules have a circular shape, however, some can be linear in shape as well. Also, they can range from small and pea-sized to as large as a walnut. When rheumatoid nodules form a cluster of tiny nodules, they are referred to as micro-nodules. This severe, less common case of micro-nodules generally occurs around the arthritic finger joints.
Though nodules are firm or even doughy to the touch and dont cause any feelings of tenderness, they can occasionally be painful. Pain typically occurs when flare-ups are active and the joints become inflamed such that it impacts the nodules and the area around them.
Rheumatoid nodules are capable of moving around but some form a connection with the tendons or tissue beneath the skin and become fixed.
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What Specialties Of Doctors Diagnose And Treat Trigger Finger
Primary care doctors, including general practitioners, family medicine physicians, and internists, commonly diagnose trigger finger. Specialists who treat trigger finger include orthopedic surgeons, sports-medicine doctors, plastic surgeons, hand surgeons, and rheumatologists. Occupational therapists and physical therapists can be involved in the care of patients with trigger finger.
How Do You Fix Trigger Finger Naturally
With trigger finger, the affected finger often locks up in the morning and then releases as the day goes on. However, patients experiencing a severe case of trigger finger might find that their digit does not naturally come out of a bent position. When this happens, the person may have to use their other hand to straighten the affected finger. Rather than forcing the finger to loosen with your other hand, you may be able to release the locked finger by massaging its base. Heres how to unlock trigger finger naturally and gently:
- Rub the base of the affected finger in a circular motion, gently applying pressure.
- Massage the area for a few minutes.
- Consider massaging the entire area connected to the affected finger, such as your hand, wrist and forearm.
If your finger continues to stay stuck no matter what you try or causes pain, call your doctor to ask about the best treatment for your needs.
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Flexor Tenosynovitis In The Fingers
Synovial proliferation produces discrete rheumatoid nodules on tendons, which can result in trigger finger. The size and location of these nodules on the flexor tendon determine the degree of triggering.
Four types of trigger finger occur in RA. Type 1 is similar to nonrheumatoid stenosing tenosynovitis, in which the tendons catch at the first annular pulley during flexion secondary to small, localized hyperproliferation of the synovium. In type 2, the nodules form in the distal palm and cause the finger to lock in flexion. In type 3, nodules on the flexor digitorum profundus tendon near the second annular pulley lock the finger in extension. Type 4 trigger finger results from generalized tenosynovitis within the fibro-osseous canal. Active motion is more restricted than passive motion, and contracture and stiffness result.
Flexor tenosynovectomy and nodule excision are recommended for all types of tenosynovitis and trigger finger.
How Trigger Finger Develops
Tendons control the movement of our fingers and thumbs. Each tendon is surrounded by a tendon sheath. A sheath is made of a delicate membrane, called a synovial membrane. If the membrane becomes inflamed and narrows, the tendon it encapsulates can have trouble moving. The tendon can catch on the sheath and get stuck, locking the finger in place.
Despite its name, trigger finger often affects the ring finger or thumb, and it can affect multiple digits at once. If you try to manually straightened your bent finger or thumb, it may snap straight out as the tendon moves again suddenly.
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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects Your Hands
Many joints are covered with a lining called the synovium, which lubricates the joint so it moves more easily. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, the synovium becomes inflamed, thickens, and produces an excess of joint fluid. This is known as synovitis. That extra fluid along with the inflammatory chemicals released by the immune system causes swelling, damages cartilage, and softens the bone within the joint. The swollen tissue may stretch the surrounding ligaments, resulting in deformity and instability, according to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. The inflammation may also weaken and damage tendons. Ligaments are connective tissues that join two bones tendons are connective issues that join muscle to bone.
When RA strikes the hand, it is most common in the wrist and finger knuckles more specifically the MCP joint, or the large knuckle where the fingers and thumb meet the hand, and the PIP joint, or middle knuckle, explains Jemima Albayda, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.
The first knuckle at the top of the finger closest to the nails the DIP, or distal interphalangeal joint is generally spared in RA. In the wrist, RA often affects the joint between the two bones of the forearm, the radius and ulna.
Link Between Trigger Finger And Rheumatoid Arthritis
Trigger finger is a painful condition caused by the tendon sheaths becoming inflamed or swollen. It results in a finger bending and getting locked down towards the palm of the hand, making flexing the finger challenging.
As rheumatoid arthritis affects the tendons, joints, and muscles, it can cause lumps on tendons, which make it hard for the tendon to glide easily, resulting in a trigger finger. Therefore trigger finger is a common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, but it is not a guarantee that you have the autoimmune disorder. In many cases, trigger finger is caused by overstressed digits and other risk factors such as age, profession, and gender. Moreover, trigger fingers usually affect the ring finger, little finger, and thumb of the hand, while rheumatoid impacts the overall joints of the body.
Being stressed about trigger finger is understandable due to its link with rheumatoid arthritis, but it is not the only symptom of the disorder. Odds are that your trigger finger is not due to rheumatoid arthritis however, if you show other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, then visit your doctor for confirmation and trigger finger treatment.
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Talk With Your Doctor
If you are experiencing trigger finger, please talk with your doctor. Psoriatic arthritis can affect the whole body. While back and knee pain is the most dominant area that arthritis can affect, it is always best to remember it can and will affect the whole body.
I use my hands a lot. Spending a lot of time typing is required in the job I do. I do not want anything to stop me from doing what I love to do. To the lady who responded to my article sharing the true definition of trigger finger, I send my appreciation your way. To those who have never heard about trigger finger, but may be experiencing it, I hope this helps explains it.
Signs And Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Hand
Stiffness, swelling, and pain are symptoms common to all forms of arthritis in the hand. In rheumatoid arthritis, some joints may be more swollen than others. There is often a sausage-shaped swelling of the finger. Other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis of the hand include:
- A soft lump over the back of the hand that moves with the tendons that straighten the fingers
- A creaking sound during movement
- A shift in the position of the fingers as they drift away from the direction of the thumb
- Swelling and inflammation of the tendons that bend the fingers, resulting in clicking or triggering of the finger as it bends, and sometimes causing numbness and tingling in the fingers
- Rupture of tendons with loss of ability to straighten or bend certain fingers or the thumb
- Unstable joints in the wrist, fingers, and thumb
- Deformity in which the middle joint of the finger becomes bent and the end joint hyperextended
- Hyperextension at the middle joint of the finger associated with a bent fingertip
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Find Trigger Finger Treatment At Orthobethesda
Trigger finger doesnt always lead to pain and limited movement, but its debilitating in some cases. Whether youre experiencing painful symptoms or are worried about changes youve noticed in your fingers or hands, doctors are ready to help you. Its never too late to get treatment for trigger finger, even if the condition comes and goes for years.
At OrthoBethesda, our highly trained team of orthopedic surgeons specializes in treating joint, tendon and ligament injuries and conditions. As an innovative orthopedic care center with locations in Arlington, Virginia and Bethesda, Maryland, were ready to provide compassionate service and treat any issue related to the bodys musculoskeletal system. You deserve to feel good, regardless of your job, hobbies or other medical challenges youre experiencing. To treat your trigger finger symptoms or learn more, please contact us today or schedule your appointment.
- 10215 Fernwood Road, Bethesda, MD 20817
- Ph 530-1010
- 1635 N. George Mason Drive #180 Arlington, VA
- Ph 567-4706
- 4420 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100 Arlington, VA
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Heart Disease Risk Increases With Ra
One of the most concerning conditions that can evolve in people with RA is cardiovascular disease, especially ischemic heart disease, in which there’s a reduced blood supply in the heart.
Other cardiovascular issues people with RA are at increased risk for include heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, and atrial fibrillation.
Its crucial that people with RA continue to be monitored for heart disease risks by their general practitioner or cardiologist. In a review of preventative measures for people with RA, published in June 2020 in the journal Nature Reviews Rheumatology, the authors noted that catching risk factors early, such as high blood pressure or high blood lipids, is especially important for preventing a serious cardiac event.
In addition, people with RA are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes another cardiovascular risk factor as those without RA, possibly because the inflammation of RA affects blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
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Are There Home Remedies For Trigger Finger
Initially, people can treat trigger finger at home with remedies including cold packs, resting, and over-the-counter medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Massaging the involved area of the palm gently followed by cold pack application can be helpful. Take care to avoid reinjuring the strained tendon in the palm.
Other Conditions That Can Cause Hand Pain Include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Rheumatoid arthritis can raise your risk of this condition, but many other factors can contribute as well, including anatomy of your wrist, nerve-damaging diseases and possibly repetitive hand motions. Its tricky because you could have carpal tunnel syndrome that is related to RA or not at all related to RA.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis And The Joints
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system begins to attack parts of the body instead of protecting them. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the synovium, a lining of thin membranes that surround the joints, including those in the fingers. This results in inflammation which thickens the synovium, causing pain and swelling in the joint. Eventually, this damages the joint and weakens the tissues that hold it together.
No one is sure what causes RA, though doctors do know that you are more likely to get it if you are a woman or have a family history of the disease.
When Should You See A Doctor For Trigger Finger
If youre experiencing numbness, pain, stiffness or the inability to straighten or bend a finger, its best to visit your doctor. Your doctor can determine if you have trigger finger by performing a physical exam and reviewing your medical history. Once they figure out the cause of your symptoms, they can recommend a suitable treatment.
If any of your finger joints are hot and inflamed, or if you experience a sudden, severe onset of pain, get medical attention right away, as these are signs of an infection.
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Whos At Risk For Trigger Finger
Anyone can be diagnosed with trigger finger. However, the following groups of people are more likely to experience this condition:
- Hobbyists or workers who perform repetitive motions, especially a gripping motion that moves the fingers in a way that can irritate tendons
- People in their 40s, 50s, and beyond
- People who have had a previous injury to their hands, wrists, or arm tendons
- People with diabetes
- People with carpal tunnel syndrome or another similar nerve or tendon condition
See A Physical Or Occupational Therapist
Your doctor may refer you to a physical or occupational therapist to help maintain hand function and dexterity and strengthen joints, say experts. Depending on your needs, a therapist may give you exercises to improve range of motion and function in your hand and wrist, recommend the use of splints or braces to help support joints and ease stress, and suggest new ways to do everyday tasks that may help relieve pain and protect your joints.
Here are some arthritis-friendly hand exercises you can do regularly.
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Caring For Your Fingers With Ra
Early treatment can significantly slow the progress of RA, increasing the chances of remission and potentially reducing permanent damage and finger deformities. Treatment varies from patient to patient, so talk to your doctor about which course of action is best for you.
You may hear its important to stay active when you have arthritis, but that doesnt mean ignoring your symptoms. If doing something causes swelling or pain in your fingers that lasts more than an hour after the activity ends, you should change the way you do that activity. This may include:
Taking more frequent rests, especially when doing something that involves gripping, pinching or intricate finger movements
Using special ergonomically designed tools instead of your fingers
Modifying knobs or other handles with larger, lever-style handles
Moving or carrying objects with carts or wheeled carriers to reduce gripping and lifting
Working with a physical or occupational therapist to learn how to adapt your movements and environment to avoid joint strain
For some people, hot and cold therapies may be helpful. Heat treatments tend to work best for easing stiffness or dull aches, while cold treatments are better for acute pain and inflammation. You may also benefit from gentle range-of-motion exercises, such as placing your hand flat on a table and spreading your fingers wide, or slowly closing and opening your fist one knuckle at a time.
How Is Ra In The Hands Treated
Theres no cure for RA, but treatment can help reduce joint pain and swelling and improve the ability to perform day-to-day activities. For the most part, RA in the hands is managed with the same medications and treatment options used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in general. However, some treatments are specific to hand and finger RA.
See what rheumatologist Dr. Ashira Blazer says about managing pain and stiffness in fingers and wrists.
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Hand Pain Is Worse With Activity
This type of hand pain tends to occur in osteoarthritis , a degenerative disorder where the cartilage that cushions the end of a joint breaks down over time. Joint symptoms of OA are more likely to be exacerbated by repetitive or overuse and effort, explains Dr. Lally for example, gardening or crafting.
In RA, on the other hand, pain and stiffness tend to come with lack of use and after periods of inactivity, such as when you wake up in the morning after being still all night.
Another way to distinguish the two: swelling in your hand and wrist is hard and bony in OA boggy and squishy in RA, says Dr. Albayda.