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Trigger Thumb

Trigger Thumb, idiopathic in origin, is a disorder that causes the thumb to lock in a bent position, similar to holding your finger on a trigger. When attempting to straighten the affected finger, it would snap, a sound comparable to the sound of a trigger releasing. While a more aptly name disorder may be tough to find, this condition is anything but a laughing matter. In severe cases, a person’s thumb or finger locks in that unusually bent position.

Trigger Thumb

Cause of Trigger Thumb

The cause of Trigger Thumb is a narrowing in the sheath surrounding the tendon of the affected finger. This prevents the tendon from moving fluidly, as it does in the unaffected areas. This injury is thought to be a result of people who engage in repetitive motions through work or hobbies, and that repetitive gripping actions make an individual more susceptible to this injury. Other medical conditions that increase an individual’s risk of having Trigger Thumb include rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. As with DeQuervain’s disease, females appear seem to be more susceptible to the condition due to the slender passageways the tendons run through.

A diagnosis of Trigger Thumb requires only a routine physical examination of the area as well as a detailed medical history. Your physician will manually manipulate the area, testing the amount of discomfort you feel and the range of motion you have, as well as checking for areas of tenderness and swelling. If your range of motion is extremely limited or impeded by pain, your doctor could inject a numbing solution into the affected area so that he or she can complete the exam.

Trigger Thumb Treatment

For mild symptoms, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications would be recommended as well as splinting the wrist and thumb to prevent motion that would reinjure the area. A wrist support brace with thumb spica (thumb splint) is often recommended for use for several weeks, until the swelling and tenderness to the affected area has passed.