Your provider will customize the best treatment plan for you based on the severity of your case. Typically, a patient with trigger finger will start with conservative, nonsurgical treatments, such as:
- Corticosteroid injection(s). The most common treatment, which is typically effective for a year or more. This steroid injection near or into the tendon sheath may reduce inflammation and allow the tendon to glide freely again. More than one injection may be needed.
- Heat and ice. Periodically ice the affected digit to reduce pain and inflammation. Placing it in warm water several times a day will relax the tendons and muscles.
- Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen may relieve pain but are unlikely to relieve the swelling constricting the tendon sheath or trapping the tendon.
- Percutaneous release. Your provider numbs your palm, then inserts a needle into the tissue around your affected tendon. He/she then moves the needle and your finger to break apart the constriction.
- Rest. You’ll need to avoid activities that require repetitive gripping or the prolonged use of vibrating hand-held tools.
- Splints. Wearing a splint at night keeps the affected digit in an extended position for up to six weeks, helping rest the tendon.
- Stretching exercises. Your doctor may also suggest gentle exercises to help maintain mobility in your finger.
If your symptoms are severe or if conservative treatments aren’t working, your provider might recommend a surgical treatment called tenolysis. In this procedure, your orthopedic surgeon makes a small incision near the base of your affected finger, then cuts open the constricted section of tendon sheath so the flexor tendon can glide more easily through the sheath.
Swelling and stiffness should go away completely in four to six months. In severe cases where a contracture, or loss of motion, was present before surgery, we may not be able to restore a complete range of motion.