No, I'm not referring to the type of trigger finger you are probably thinking of; this medical condition is one not known by the general population - although it's quite prevalent in the elder community - and oddly, it does not involve guns or a bad temper. So then, what exactly is trigger finger?
Technically speaking, trigger finger is a condition in which the tendon that connects your forearm bone to muscle becomes inflamed, ultimately sheathing the tendon, which causes the finger to catch or lock in a bent position. But don’t get ready to pull the trigger just yet, because you will be surprised to know what exactly causes this condition – and its not trigger-happy people.
With that said, take a minute to think about what you use your finger and thumb for. Typing this article, any type of machine operation, washing your hair, applying your make up, eating with utensils, writing with a pen or pencil, even using the television remote – bet you didn’t think of that one, huh! Either way, repetitive motion of common movements like the ones mentioned can lead to this condition causing - amongst other symptoms - pain.
Before we go any further about what the trigger finger actually entails, I first want to go over who is at risk for this condition besides the obvious – anyone who forcefully and repetitively overuses the mentioned tendon. Firstly, females are most at risk for this condition, especially between the ages of 40-60. Secondly, you run the risk of developing trigger finger if you have any pre-exisisting condition that include rheumatoid arthritis, gout or hypothyroidism. And to state the obvious, gun users – yes, you Mrs. Police woman, hunters, and well, assassins (This is the only time I will hope someone gets this kind of condition).
Now that we know who is at risk, let’s talk about what they will experience or are experiencing with trigger finger. First and foremost, finger, thumb or hand pain is the first signal that something is wrong. Other symptoms include stiffness, swelling and possible signs of a lump in your palm. A serious symptom that is almost a sure sign of trigger finger is when your finger or thumb pops or catches when trying to bend it. This means the tendon has been sheathed and needs to be repaired. However, you know for certain you have a problem when you attempt to move your finger or thumb and find it stuck in an bent position. Can we say ouch?!
In any event, if you find yourself in this kind of unfortunate situation, it would behoove you to seek medical attention immediately. Even if you are only experiencing light symptoms like stiffness and soreness, it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. Therefore, check back soon as next we will discuss treatment options, recovery time and ways to prevent your lock ups.