As contrary to popular belief, the fingers are one of the most unique type of biological body structure because unlike other structures, the hands are the most developed, being able to perform any type of motor movement. What’s rather more bizarre is the unknown fact that fingers do not actually contain muscles. They are the only boned moving body structure that does not contain muscles, other than being unique, this fact makes our fingers also fragile. Because of the reason that fingers do not have muscles, their motor movement solely relies on the muscles that can be found in the hands and two long muscles that stretch to the forehand. The concept of motion within our hands is as simple as a puppet show. The bones in the fingers are connected to the muscles of the hands and wrist through string-like structures that are mainly responsible for the motion of the fingers. This is called tendons. Tendons are thin string like structures that are the ones that pull and give the fingers its motor motions, allowing the fingers to flex, stretch and move. They are the strings of a puppet, but like any puppet show, anything that happens with the strings, the puppets will no longer move. The same in fingers when the tendons are damaged, the finger’s capabilities is be either minimized or eliminated.
A type of inflammation of the tendons in the hands is called trigger finger. Basically, trigger finger is named after the motion done when using a gun. In trigger finger, any finger affected may be locked in a bent position and after some time or struggle will directly pop back in a straight position. This condition affects the tendons in the fingers, what basically happens is that, tendons are thin strands of muscle like properties, the tendons are covered with a sheath like structure and in this sheath like structure is also lined again with another structure called the tenosynovium. This is the one responsible for producing a lubricant which allows tendons and the surrounding sheath to slide smoothly. In the case of trigger finger, the tenosynovium is enflamed causing the lack of production of lubricant, resulting in the inability of the tendons to simply slide through the sheath.
There are a number of reasons that causes trigger finger, namely strenuous activities using the hands may cause the tendons to be damaged or severely over used. Manual labor, baseball and many other forms that may cause regular trauma in the hands are considered some of the reasons. Also aging is a proven cause, as the human body ages, the muscles start to degrade, same as in the tendons, the tenosynovium produces less and less lubricant as an individual gets older. It is even said to occur mostly between the ages of 40 to 60 years and are most frequent in women compared to men. Diabetes, gout and arthritis are also seen as developmental causes of trigger finger. When an individual starts to feel the symptoms like a clicking or snapping sensation when the finger is bent, or pain and numbness on the joints of the fingers, it is likely necessary to seek treatment for trigger finger before the condition gets any worse.
There are a number of treatments used to control or cure trigger finger. Abstinence is a seen way to slowly recover from the injury, stopping all activities that may cause trauma to the hands, like strong gripping. This will help the inflammation to gradually heal and let the tendons recover. Some people who are not required to take surgery take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Splinting is a method which is acclaimed to be effective for over 70 percent who have undergone the treatment. This will require the use of splint or a finger orthosis which is a type of brace that will be placed on the finger. This will prevent the finger to perform any type of motion, reducing the inflammation. The amount of time that an individual may be required to wear an orthosis depends on the doctor’s prescription which is also based on the severity of the condition. In even severe conditions, the need of corticosteroid injections may be necessary. This is an anti-inflammatory drug that will be injected to the tendons. Side effects may include slight elevation in the glucose levels of an individual. This might not be that severe but may be damaging to some diabetic patients, slight discoloration of the skin and twitching of the fingers.
The famous type of treatment known are the surgeries, there are basically two types. All of which concentrate in the idea of removing the thickened ligament or separating the sheath and tendon. The open surgery is considered as the most effective, though it is more prone to complications. Anesthetics is applied and an incision is made to remove a thickened ligament that limits the movement of the fingers, also in other terms, the removing the sheath that is constricting the tendon. The end result usually of an open surgery is a large scar. The percutaneous release surgery may not lead to a large scar and is less likely to have any complications, the process includes the use of a needle which will be used to pierce through the skin and separate the ligament through a micro incision. This process though is very dangerous. It may damage neighboring nerves close to the tendon.