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What is Trigger Finger and Trigger Thumb?

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I am the ultimate clean-freak in our household. My kids constantly laugh at me, as I am usually spotted toting a bottle of some spray cleaner or a can of Lysol wherever I go in the house. My husband has jokingly told me that the index finger on my right hand will probably one day lock into the “ready, aim, fire” position without warning, as I use that finger repeatedly throughout the day. Not that I clean all day. That finger also graces the buttons on my computer mouse. In coming across the topic of trigger finger and trigger thumb, I began to wonder if I might possibly sustain “neurotic cleaning finger” in the near future.

Trigger finger is a condition that occurs when someone’s finger or thumb becomes locked in a bent position. The finger or thumb may then straighten out with a snap, much like a trigger being pulled and then released. If the trigger finger becomes severe enough, it can potentially become locked in that bent position.

This condition can be quite painful. It is caused by the narrowing of the sheath surrounding the tendon in the affected finger. People who engage in work activities or hobbies that require repeated gripping actions are more likely to suffer from this condition. It is also seen more in women than in men, and also more common with those who suffer from diabetes. (I am now considering what my options might be to hire a cleaning service!) This injury is also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, and the treatment of it varies depending upon the severity of it.

Some of the warning signs of trigger finger or trigger thumb include a noticeable stiffness in the digit, mainly in the morning. You may hear a popping or clicking sound as you move your finger. The base of the finger may be tender or a slight bump may be noticeable at the base of it. Your finger may catch in a locked position and then suddenly pop straight out, or the finger may become locked in a bent position and you will not be able to straighten it.

This condition is frequently seen in the dominant hand, and usually affects your thumb or your middle or ring finger. More than one finger can be affected at once.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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