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Best Treatment Option for Trigger Finger

You probably have trigger finger if your finger gets stuck curled up and you have to force it to straighten back out. That the "trigger" part. It the painful snap that happens.

A lot of people with trigger finger wake up in the morning with their finger stuck in a bent position. It can happen to any of your fingers. If it happens in your thumb it's called

trigger thumb.

When you force the finger out straight the snap is caused by swelling in the tendon. The swollen area of the tendon get stick in a thickened part of the tunnel it travels in. The snap happens when you use your muscles to force it open. If it gets severe you may have to use you other hand to force your finger out straight.

Treatment Options for Trigger Finger or Trigger Thumb

  1. Physical therapy and splinting

  2. A cortisone injection

  3. Surgery

What is Your Best Treatment Option

It depends. You do have options. You have the least risk with physical therapy and splinting.

Don't get me wrong, there is not a lot of risk with the cortisone injection or surgery for the trigger finger. These treatments are very effective. But there is risk with any injection or surgery.

What Do You Do in Therapy?

We make a custom-molded hand splint for you to wear while you sleep. This keeps your tendon from getting stuck in the tight part of the tunnel. The inflammation goes away, the snapping stops, and you go on with your business.

If you have a severe case, we may just do splinting for a while to calm it down. It it's not severe or once it calms down we start exercises to keep the two tendons that travel on top of each other in the tunnel from getting stuck.

We also make sure everything else from your arm up to your neck is working correctly. it seems that trigger finger is caused by repetitive activity. Only 2-3% of people get is so it may not just be the repetitive activity. If you are compensating for another problems you may end up with extra force on the tendon causing the triggering. We will ant to take care of that.

How Does the Average Person Do with Physical Therapy and Splinting

In a recent study, 80% of the people treated with just splinting were better one year later. These people avoided the risk of an injection or surgery. we estimate the cost of the injection to be about the same as therapy. Having surgery will cost a lot more and take up a lot more of your time.

A Person's Experience

John was a professional musician, primarily a guitar player. He was having trouble because of a trigger finger on his left hand. The hand surgeon wanted to give him an injection, and if that didn't work, surgery. Wanting an option that would not disrupt his work, he self-referred to physical therapy.

After splinting and therapy treatment, John returned to playing his guitar without any problems. He avoided treatment with medications, injections, or surgery by starting with us and physical therapy first. He was able to continue working throughout his treatment.


Christopher DiPasquale, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CHT is a physical therapist at Performance Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine with offices in Hebron and Colchester, Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy and a Certified Hand Therapist by the Hand Therapy Certification Committee.

For more information visit or call the office: Colchester 860-537-3014 or Hebron 860-228-4883

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