What is trigger finger, and how do we treat it? Maharsh K. Patel, MD

Hand & Upper Extremity Videos | February 18, 2022

What are the Different Presentations of Trigger Finger?

Hello, I’m Dr. Maharsh Patel, one of the hand and upper extremity specialists at OrthoGeorgia on Northside Drive. Today I’ll be talking about a common topic that hand surgeons deal with known as trigger finger. So with trigger finger, there can be up to four different types of presentations. The first presentation is where people have pain right at the base of the finger, most commonly the ring finger, but it could also be any of the fingers or the thumb. The second stage is when you try to bend or straighten the finger, you’ll have some clicking and oftentimes pain, right at the base and sometimes on the back of your knuckle. The third stage is actually where the finger can get stuck down and you have to either forcibly straighten it, or you have to use your other hand to fully straighten it. And then the fourth and final stage is where the finger stays locked down and you’re unable to straighten, which is usually something that requires surgery. 

How is Trigger Finger Treated?

So for any of those types of stages of trigger finger, the treatment option oftentimes can be as simple as a splint that keeps the finger straight temporarily, or a cortisone injection, which is a steroid to help with the underlying problem, which is oftentimes inflammation. And so the steroid actually helps reduce the swelling and can also help reduce the pain and is curative in about 75 to 80% of people. Some people need one injection. Some people need up to three, but if you need more than three within the span of one year, then we typically recommend surgery. 

What Does Surgery for Trigger Finger Involve?

The surgery is about 5 to 10 minutes. It can be done under straight local anesthesia. And what it involves is making an incision at the base of your finger, sometimes in a straight line or sometimes at an angle, and going down to where the tendon is and releasing the tunnel that is overlying the tendon, which is known as the pulley. And once that is released, you can have more mobility of the tendon to move freely and not get caught. That will resolve any of the clicking or locking that most people have that is associated with trigger finger. So if anyone has that problem, please feel free to see myself or one of the hand surgeons here at OrthoGeorgia. Thank you.

About Dr. Patel

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Dr. Maharsh Patel is a Fellowship Trained Hand and Upper Extremity Specialist at OrthoGeorgia. His orthopaedic interests include treating sports injuries such as rotator cuff tears/tendonitis, elbow and thumb ligament reconstruction, tendon transfers, arthroscopic surgery of the upper extremity, and fractures of the upper extremity in all ages. Dr. Patel is also a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and works with patients at our Macon and Milledgeville offices.

Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery in Central Georgia

OrthoGeorgia was one of the first subspeciality Hand Surgery practices in the southeastern United States, and over sixty years later, our Hand Surgeons continue to lead the field that combines orthopaedic, plastic and reconstructive, and neurological principles. Patients at OrthoGeorgia also have access to spine, hand, total joint, and foot & ankle care, personalized according to your unique needs and situation. To learn more about the care we provide or to schedule an appointment in Macon (Building A or our Macon Spine and Orthopaedic Center), Warner Robins, Kathleen, Milledgeville, Dublin, or Hawkinsville, please contact OrthoGeorgia today! 

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Personalized Orthopaedic Care in Central Georgia

At OrthoGeorgia, we want to help you live a healthier and more comfortable life by giving those in Macon, Warner Robins, Kathleen, Milledgeville, Dublin, Hawkinsville, and the surrounding areas convenient access to the highest quality care. Whether you have been suffering from a sports injury or a common orthopaedic condition, we will determine the cause of your discomfort and craft a personalized treatment plan to bring you relief. To learn more about our services and our physicians, or to schedule an appointment at OrthoGeorgia, please contact us today.

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